Karnataka HC directs State to continue counselling for sexually abused girls rescued from Bangalore Ashram

Karnataka HC directs State to continue counselling for sexually abused girls rescued from Bangalore Ashram

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

They 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 Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar stated that the counselling is to be resumed by experts of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).

While passing its order, the observed,

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.”

In its order, the Court stated,

“This Court has noted that the counselling undertaken by experts NIMHANS had not been continued. We are of the opinion that the counselling must continue as they [resucued 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.”

Karnataka High Court order

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.

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.

However, it was brought to the attention of the Court that six minor girls were rescued and brought to the Government Girl Children's Home.

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.

Further, 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 were noted.

The PIL also sought for a thorough investigation and transfer of the matter to an appropriate agency.

Accordingly, in an earlier order, the Court had directed for a CID investigation in the matter.

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 the Juvenile Justice Act.

The matter will be next listed on February 27.

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