New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed serious concern over the growing incidents of rape in India and said that women are being raped “left, right, and centre”. A three Judge bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur Deepak Gupta and K.M. Joseph hearing the suo motu petition relating to rape incidents in Muzaffarpur shelter home in Bihar quoted the National Crime Records Bureau data and said that a woman is raped every six hours in the country. Justice Lokur told amicus curiae Aparna Bhat and counsel Vrinda Grover that as per the 2016 NCRB data, 38,947 women were raped in India, the highest being in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Uttar Pradesh.
Expressing his shock and anguish, the Judge asked the counsel “What is to be done? Girls and women are getting raped left, right and centre. What action these State governments are taking to ensure protect to women and children.” Advocate Aparna Bhat, told the court that no compensation has been paid to the alleged victims of sexual assault at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. She also said that one of the girls, who was allegedly raped at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur, was still “missing”. Ms. Grover, counsel for Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which conducted an audit of shelter homes, told the court that out of 110 such institutions in Bihar, “grave concerns” have been raised about 15.
To this, senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, for the Bihar government told the bench that nine cases of sexual abuse have been lodged involving these 15 institutions run by various NGOs. Taking note of the submission that videos and photographs of minors in rape cases had been uploaded in the social media, the bench directed them to be removed and also directed initiation of action against the woman for uploading such videos;. The court further directed the media not to use photos of underage rape survivors on print, electronic and social media, even in morphed form.
It also said that if interviewed, the minor victims of sexual abuse would have a serious mental impact observing they cannot be compelled to “relive the trauma” again and again. The bench had said that it had not restrained the police authority from conducting probe and if they want to question the alleged victims, they would have to take assistance of professional counsellors and qualified child psychiatrist in consultation with National Institute of Mental Health. When Ms. Grover pointed out that the State had not conducted any social audit of NGOs who are running the shelter homes, the Bench questioned the Bihar government for funding the NGO running Muzaffarpur shelter home where girls were sexually abused.