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Shelter home assault: Court raps CBI for delay in notifying SPP, says laxity will amount to contempt


Press Trust of India New Delhi
A Delhi court Monday rapped the CBI for delay in notifying special public prosecutor in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case and directed the agency to appoint a lawyer within two days.
Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha pulled up the probe agency after senior public prosecutor R N Singh informed the court that he had not been notified as the SPP in the case and the process may take a couple of more days.
"I want the notification day after tomorrow. If you cannot, just inform the Supreme Court. I am sending a copy of this order to the CBI director as well. If this is not done, some senior officer of the level of joint director will have to appear," the judge said.
The court also warned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that any laxity to comply with the court's order will amount to contempt and action would be taken against the agency for the delay.
"Issue notice to director CBI to notify the SPP within two days. The Supreme Court has also directed that all steps that are required to comply with the time frame regulated in the order should be taken. Accordingly, any laxity on the part of CBI will amount to contempt of the Supreme Court and action shall be taken against CBI accordingly.
"Do not expect the court to wait for one week for the notification to come. You are as much bound by the Supreme Court order as I am. Do not take me to that stage that I should write to the Supreme Court that the CBI is in contempt of the order initiated by the court. Already once you have suffered contempt," the court said.
The court also directed the investigating officer (IO) of the agency to supply within two days a CD containing scanned copies of the charge sheet and other documents to counsels of the accused.
When the IO informed the court that there were around 5,000 pages which needed to be scanned and that it would take four days, the judge said, "I do not have four days, do it all night if you want".
The court directed that those accused who were not represented by a counsel be taken to the Delhi State Legal Service Authority, which then would provide them lawyers.
Advocate Gyanendra Mishra, appearing for Muzaffarpur Child Welfare Committee member Vikas Kumar, told the court that Kumar had a wound in his leg and had been referred to AIIMS Delhi for surgery, after which the court asked him to submit a report.
The apex court had on February 7 ordered that the shelter home sexual assault case be transferred from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court at Saket district court complex here, which would conclude the trial within six months by holding preferably "day-to-day" trials.
Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur. The issue had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
On the TISS report, the apex court had said it raised grave concern about 17 shelter homes in Bihar and the CBI must look into all of them. Of these, the Muzaffarpur case was already being looked into by the CBI.
In the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, an FIR was lodged on May 31, 2018 against 11 people following the TISS report.
The probe was later taken over by the CBI and so far, 17 people have been arrested.
The amicus curiae had also told the court that there were 1,028 shelter homes across India where instances of sexual and physical abuse have been reported.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 6:30 PM IST

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