New Delhi: The Supreme Court transferred the trial of Muzaffarpur shelter-home case from Patna to a POCSO court in Delhi, on Thursday. The apex court ordered the commencement of the trial within two weeks and finish hearing within six months. The POSCO court is a special court established under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also strongly criticized the CBI and Centre for transferring an officer probing the case despite the apex court’s embargo against the transfer of investigating officials. The CJI asked, “Was Cabinet committee which transferred him (the officer) informed of the Supreme Court embargo?”
While asking the CBI to explain why the investigating officer, AK Sharma, was transferred, Gogoi said, “We are going to take it very, very seriously. You have played with our order. Now God help you. Why did you not obtain leave of this court as per earlier orders? It is a fit case for contempt. Enough is enough. ... We will ask the Bihar chief secretary to appear before us. Get someone here who is conversed to what is happening in the state. You can’t let your officers treat unfortunate children like this. Spare the children.”
In December last year, the CBI filed a chargesheet against all the accused under the POCSO Act, after the Bihar government referred the issue to the CBI after the pressure from the opposition. The case concerns of alleged mental, physical and sexual exploitation of minor girls residing at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur.
This matter came to light in 2018 when the Bihar social welfare department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The audit report stated that many girls at the shelter home had complained of sexual abuse