The Karnataka High Court directs for the continuation of counselling for five rescued minor girls who underwent physical and sexual abuse at an Ashram in Bangalore last year

The Karnataka High Court directs for the continuation of counselling for five rescued minor girls who underwent physical and sexual abuse at an Ashram in Bangalore last year

A PIL was filed to inspect the Samrakshana Anantha Ashrama in Kengeri Upanagara, Bengaluru based on information on child abuse. The Children Welfare Committee was appointed by the Karnataka HC which submitted its report on mental and physical abuse faced by the children in Ashram, inhumane living conditions and absence of women staff, cameras and other safety measures to protect women. Though the minor children were rescued from Ashram, the court emphasized the need for continuation of counseling. The matter is posted for hearing on February 27, 2020.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar of Karnatka High Court directed for the continuation of counselling for five rescued minor girls who underwent physical and sexual abuse at an Ashram in Bangalore last year.

Prior Facts:

The five minor girls were brought to the Government Girl Children’s Home, which is maintained by the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Karnataka in March last year.A plea was filed last year by the Karnataka Legal Services Authority bringing to light the exploitation of minor girls at Samrakshana Anantha Ashrama in Kengeri Upanagara, Bengaluru. In an earlier order, the Court had directed for a CID investigation in the matter.

Key Features:

  • The PIL filed before the Court stated that an inspection had been conducted by Child Welfare Committee in the institution in the matter.
  • The report furnished after inspection noted that minor girls were living in inhuman conditions at the ashram, and were subjected to physical and sexual abuses.
  • The report submitted to the Court further stated that the children complained that they were subjected to verbal and sexual abuse, not being fed properly, and were beaten and tortured by Jadugar Jagannath, the owner of the ashram.
  • The report stated that there was no women staff at the institution, and no records were maintained.
  • The report also described the ashram’s condition as poor, with dirty rooms and toilets. Additionally, the absence of CCTV cameras, medical facilities or basic amenities was noted.
  • The PIL also sought for a thorough investigation and transfer of the matter to an appropriate agency.
  • The State Legal Services Authority has stated that a complaint has been registered for the offences punishable under Sections 7 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and Section 42 of theJuvenile Justice Act.

Judgement:

The Karnataka High Court stated that the counselling is to be resumed by experts of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). The court stated that, “the counselling undertaken by experts NIMHANS had not been continued. We are of the opinion that the counselling must continue as they [rescued girl children] need counselling…Therefore, we direct the State to continue counselling by experts of NIMHANS. The counselling shall continue as per their suggestions. We direct the State to make immediate arrangements for the same.”  It also observed that, “the Job of the State does not come to an end after handing over the children to the parents….counselling for the girl children has to continue.”The matter will be next listed on February 27.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.