The Supreme Court on Thursday summoned Joint Secretary of Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry on steps being taken by the Centre relating to counselling and rehabilitation of children who are victim of sexual abuse, and framing of child protection policy.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur asked Joint Secretary of the ministry to appear before it on October 8 and assist it also on the issue relating to the need for immediate action to identify and rescue children abused inside shelter homes.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday also told the court that investigation in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case was underway and during the probe a skeleton of 15 year old girl was found from a cremation ground.
During the hearing, the bench told the Centre: "Somebody has to do something. Get involved. There has to be some action that needs to be taken (on sexual assault of girls)..."
The Apex Court has been monitoring the issue of sexual abuse of at least 34 girl inmates at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur. The incident had come to light during a social audit by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Earlier, the top court had asked media not to "sensationalise" incidents of sexual assaults and abuse and report such cases responsibly so as not to reveal the identity of the victim. It had issued notices to the Press Council of India, Editors Guild of India, News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) and News Broadcasters Association.
On Thursday, counsel appearing for the NBSA told the court top court that guidelines have been put in place to deal with the issue relating to revealing the identity of sexual assault victims by media organisations and it has passed some orders against them.
The bench, however, asked the NBSA as NBSA counsel to file an affidavit indicating action taken by it in the year 2018. On last hearing, the bench had vacated a Patna High Court order restraining the media from reporting the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case. The court had clarified that "there can't be a blanket ban but the media needs to be cautious and diligent while reporting".