Muzaffarpur shelter home and gag on media: Supreme Court sends notices to Bihar govt, CBI

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to Bihar government and the federal probe agency, the CBI, while hearing a petition challenging the Patna High Court’s gag order that banned media from reporting about Muzaffarpur shelter home case.

Supreme Court

While hearing a petition, a three Judge Bench of Supreme Court consisting Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Abdul Nazeer sought the responses from the Bihar government and the CBI while listing the matter for hearing on 18 September.

The Patna High Court had issued a gag order on media on reporting the horrific rape and murder allegations from Muzaffarpur’s shelter home arguing that this may affect the ongoing probe.

“We have also noticed that in the media, both print media as well as electronic media, the reporting is made with respect to the case and even with respect to investigation. The same may hamper the investigation very seriously,” a news report by Livelaw had quoted the division bench of Patna High Court comprising Chief Justice Mukesh R Shah and Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan as saying.

The petition was filed by a Patna-based journalist through advocate Fauzia Shakil challenging the Patna High Court order restraining the media from reporting about the investigation into Muzaffarpur shelter home case, reported news agency PTI.

The Supreme Court had earlier taken cognisance of the incident after a letter was written by Patna resident Ranvijay Kumar highlighting the issue of repeated interviews of the alleged victims of Muzaffarpur shelter home being published and aired.

Over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur, the chief of the state-funded NGO. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by TISS to the state’s social welfare department.

In August last month, Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma had resigned. Her resignation came amidst allegations that her husband was also involved in the raping, torturing and murder of young girls at a shelter home in a Muzaffarpur shelter home.

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