The Patna High Court on Thursday barred media against the coverage of the alleged rapes of minor girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. The court expressed concern over the leak of investigation details and asked media not to publish them as it could be harmful to the probe. Thirty-four minor girls were allegedly raped at the state-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur.
Shama Sinha, appearing for one of the petitioner, said the High Court has issued media guidelines against showing or printing anything related to the case in advance. “Where is the investigation being done? Or where will it be held next?” Sinha told ANI. “Court said media should refrain from revealing details like this as it will benefit those accused in the case.”
The High Court also criticised the Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday for failing to submit a progress report about its probe into the case, PTI reported. The court also asked the agency to explain why an officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police, who was the investigating officer, was transferred on Tuesday. Last month, the CBI had taken over the investigation into the matter.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mukesh R Shah and Justice Ravi Ranjan told the CBI to file its reply by the next hearing on August 27. The bench asked the CBI to explain why Superintendent of Police JP Mishra was transferred from the Special Crime Branch to the office of the Deputy Inspector General at Patna on Tuesday.
Opposition parties had on Wednesday criticised the transfer, with Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav claiming that it was politically motivated and aimed at shielding “big fish” in the case.
The alleged sexual exploitation of children in the shelter came to light after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted an audit report of 110 shelter homes in the state in April. The audit had been ordered by the state government, which filed a first information report on May 31.
Initially, the police said 16 girls had been sexually assaulted. Later, the figure was revised to 34 on the basis of a medical report released by the Patna Medical College and Hospital.