The Supreme Court today (Tuesday, August 7) slammed the Bihar government and the Centre in connection with the rape of minor girls in a Muzaffarpur shelter home run by an NGO for doing surveys rather than social audits of the government funded bodies.
Rebuking the Bihar government for its role in doling out funds to NGOs without checking their credentials, the SC bench said it almost amounted to “state-sponsored incidents”.
A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice KM Joseph had on August 2 taken suo motu cognizance of the incident in the shelter home run by an NGO and issued notices to the Bihar government and the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
“Was the credentials of this NGO which runs the home – Seva Sankalp and Vikas Samiti verified? If you are doling out funds to NGOs without verifying their credentials, it almost amounts to state involvement. It will appear that all their wrongdoings are state-sponsored. The state will have to take the responsibility”, the bench said today.
“What is going on in the country? In the year 2016 astonishing number of 38, 947 rapes were committed which means 106 rapes a day…every six hours somebody is raped… Girls and women are getting raped left, right and centre… these incidents must stop”, Justice Lokur said.
The court inquired if regular social audits were being conducted vis-à-vis activities of the NGOs “Was social audit being conducted regularly? Have you taken action against NGOs? How many NGOs involved?” the bench asked senior advocate Ranjit Kumar who appeared for the Bihar government.
During the course of proceedings, ASG Pinky Anand informed the bench that the Centre had stopped funds to the NGO-run shelter homes.
The Bihar government’s counsel Ranjit Kumar told the bench that government received report on May 23 and it took action on May 31. In between, victims were shifted to another place on May 29.
The bench slammed the counsel and said: “You are taking taxes from the people and funding these kinds of NGOs. Since three four years, you are funding these kinds of NGOs without any check. During one of the inspection, one officer went to the shelter home and checked only files. He didn’t talk to any of the girls.”
Yesterday also a similar incident came to the light in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, the bench said.
To which the counsel suggested that social audit should be done by the independent agencies.
The bench said that audit of the shelter homes should be done by CAG and the audit report should be put on websites.
The amicus said that there are other homes run by the same organization in Bihar and there are chances that there also similar incidents may have happened.
Kumar countered it by saying that all the homes run by the said organization have been shut and children have been shifted to some other homes.