Muzaffarpur shelter home case: RJD criticises Patna High Court ‘gag’ order

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Patna | Published: August 25, 2018 11:08:18 AM

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has slammed the Patna High Court’s order restraining the media from reporting on the sensational government-run Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal where over 30 minor girls were allegedly raped by the staff.

Muzaffarpur shelter home, Muzaffarpur rapes, Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes, Patna High Court, RJDMuzaffarpur shelter home case: RJD criticises Patna High Court ‘gag’ order

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has slammed the Patna High Court’s order restraining the media from reporting on the sensational government-run Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal where over 30 minor girls were allegedly raped by the staff. The party said the High Court’s order is ‘nothing less than a gag order’.

RJD vice-president Shivanand Tewary on Friday said that the court’s order is a violation of the provisions of the ‘freedom of expression’. He even said that it is ‘against the very spirit of the right to know as enshrined in the RTI Act’.

“It is only because of media coverage of the Muzaffarpur case that the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the case… Media has covered many important cases, including the fodder scam,” the RJD leader said.

Asking the High Court to reconsider its decision, Tewary said, “A blanket ban on covering the case would mean that people would not get to know many facts which are in public interest.”

The Patna High Court had on Thursday observed that the probe reports are being leaked to media and termed it a serious issue. In its verbal order, the court said that ’till the investigation is completed, all the print and electronic media are hereby restrained from reporting anything with respect to the case, more particularly, with respect to the investigation already undertaken and/ or which is likely to take place as it may seriously hamper the investigation of the case’.

Besides, the court also directed the state government and the CBI to see that the order is complied with by everyone.

Meanwhile, Santosh Kumar, one of the petitioners in the case, has said that he was exploring the possibility of moving the Supreme Court against that HC order restraining media coverage.

“Now, the media may not cover any shelter irregularity case. Our common concern is to rectify the manner in which shelter houses are being run over the years,” Kumar told The Indian Express.

The Patna High Court is monitoring the probe into the case. The court had on Thursday rapped the CBI over its failure to submit an action taken report in the court in connection with the case. The court directed the probe agency to submit the ATR at the next hearing on August 27.

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