Rights Commission (BHRC)
9, Bailey Road,
Subject- Seeking recommendations
for systemic and structural reforms, civil remedial measures and legal steps for
humanizing State’s 110 social welfare institutions
With reference to the
96 page long “Report on Social Audit of the Institutions under Social Welfare
Department, Government of Bihar” run or supported by the Department of Social
Welfare, Government of Bihar submitted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences
(TISS), Mumbai submitted to the Department, this is to submit that it has been
almost one year since the acceptance of the report but the condition of 110 social
welfare institutions across 38 districts in Bihar including 21 specialised
adoption agency, 21 short stay homes for women, 5 old age homes, 13
rehabilitation centres for destitute, 27 children homes, 8 open shelters, 11
observation homes, 1 Uttar Raksha Grih, 1 special home and 2 homes for children
with mental retardation remains dreary, bleak and depressing.
enclosing/attaching some parts of the report which are in public domain to draw
your attention towards the dire need for systemic and structural reforms and
civil remedial measures for humanizing these welfare institutions and for the
protection of their inmates to make ‘Dignity’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empathy’, the
central aspects of the functioning of these institutions. The 30 pages out of
the 96 page long TISS report are available at the website of State Government’s
Department of Social Welfare at this url: http://socialwelfare.bih.nic.in/News/NB-01-16-08-2018.pdf
It has been submitted
in the report that “….the purpose of the audit was to help in effective
planning to improve the quality of services and care and enhance the levels of
accountability….” It is evident from the report that it dealt with unsettling
questions regarding the functioning of these institutions and their pattern of
interaction with their managing heads and the State. According to Shri Atul
Prasad, Principal Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Government of Bihar,
“….the report also reminds us of certain grave concerns that we cannot afford
to ignore or deny anymore….” He wrote, “The decision to conduct the social
audit of these institutions was prompted by “….a series of incidents that came
to light, at different points, all in quick succession….” He hoped to “….build
on this report and develop our institutions into safe and caring spaces,
facilitating individual’s growth and exit from the cycle of vulnerability”. But
there is nothing in public domain to suggest that inmates of these social
welfare institutions have exited from the admitted “cycle of vulnerability”.
I submit that pages
52-55 of the 96 page long TISS report deals with “Grave Concerns: Institutions
Requiring Immediate Attention” lists down the names of institutions along with
the nature of abuse reported to be carried out at these institutions which
amounts to moral degradation of humanity in violation of Juvenile Justice Act. The
following institutions are crying for Commission’s urgent attention:
Serious physical violence and sexual
abuse by residents of the Boys’ Children Home in Motihari run by ‘Nirdesh’,
NGO. The older boys were clubbed in for accommodation with the younger boys.
Boys from both the groups reported sexual abuse and violence.
The Boys’ Children Home in Bhagalpur
being run by ‘Rupam Pragati Samaj Samiti’, NGO was also a site of grave abuse.
The complaint box which has letters written by residents provides written
record of physical and verbal abuse by RTO, Ms Rekha.
The Munger Boys’ Children Home run by
‘Panaah’ was being run from a building meant for Observation Homes. It was also
run from the same premises as the Observation Home in Munger and had the same
barrack like infrastructure. The boys were forced work for the Superintendent
and on refusal were beaten up. One of the older boys suffering from hearing and
speech impairment had a 3 inch long scar on his cheek due to assault by the
Superintendent. A 7 years old boy,
suffering from hearing and speech impairment was deprived of his hearing aid.
The Boys’ Children Home in Gaya run by
‘DORD’, NGO always kept the boys locked up. It is being run in a custodial and
In the Government run Observation Home
in Araria, boys are facing brutal violence from the security guard appointed by
the Bihar Police. Superintendent of the Observation Home was aware of the
goings but he expressed his helplessness.
The residents of Short-Stay Home in
Kaimur run by ‘Gram Swaraj Sewa Sansthan’ reported to be facing sexual abuse by
the security guard who manages the day to day affairs of this Home.
Sewa Kutir, Gaya run by ‘Metta Buddha
Trust’ is a site of painful conditions of the residents who are suffering from
Kaushal Kutir run by Don Bosco Tech
Society is a site of physical and verbal abuse against bith men and women.
People were brought here on the pretext of work and made to stay for long.
Three specialized adoption
agencies-Patna’s Nari Gunjan, Madhubani’s ‘RVESK’ and Kaimur’s ‘Gyan Bharti’
are running in a manner which is life threatening to residents including
infants and young children. The children were found hungry and living in
Residents of Short Stay Home in Patna run
by ‘IKARD’ reported violence. Girls not being allowed to contact their
families. Two staffers were reported to be physically and verbally abusive. One
of the girls committed suicide; another lost her mental balance due to the
trauma she suffered over there.
Short Stay Home in Motihari run by
‘Sakhi’ NGO is a site of physical violence against mentally ill women and
girls. The counselor was indulging in violence. Girls not being given sanitary
Short Stay Home in Munger run by
‘Novelty Welfare Society’ NGO denied clothes. Their bathrooms did not have
latches from inside. A mentally ill woman was found lockd up.
At Short Stay Home in Madhepura run by
‘Mahila Chetna Vias Mandal’ NGO, women/girls were denied cots and mattresses.
They were sleeping on the floor. One girl was reportedly brought forcibly and
was neither allowed to leave nor call her family.
‘Sewa Kutir’, Muzaffarpur run by ‘Om Sai
Foundation’ is a site of physical violence and abuse against its residents.
They were brought on the pretext of giving work. The documents of this NGO were
not made available to the audit team.
I submit that the
concerned authorities under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of
Children) Act, 2015 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)
Act, 2012 are yet to take required action with regard to offences committed by
the above mentioned welfare institutions.
I submit that despite
its limitations the TISS report is quite useful in indicating the malaise that
afflicts these institutions but a comprehensive assessment of all these 110
institutions can only be done by a public institution like Department of Social
Welfare. The Commission may ask the Department to submit a report to the
Commission as to how many Shelter Homes in the State are being were and are run
by NGOs, which were granted recognition by the State Government and who are
given financial assistance by the Government and the audit reports. It may also
be asked to submit a report on the particulars in respect of the Government run
Shelter Homes in the State.
The Commission may ask
the resident editors of all newspapers, news channels and news sites to submit
their content analysis of relevant reportage with regard to these 110
institutions and instruct relevant reporters to make written and oral
submissions before you.
The Commission may ask
the District Magistrates to make written and oral submissions with regard to
these 110 institutions.
I submit that the TISS
team members who conducted the social audit and prepared the report may be
asked to submit their assessment of the current situation in comparison to what
they found during their social audit work in order to reach conclusions about improvement,
if any. The team members comprised of seven members namely, Ms. Sunita Biswas, Mr.
Apurva, Vivek, Mr. Nilesh Kamble, Mr. Asif Iqbal, Mr. Prem Narayan Jat and Mr. Qayum
Masumi besides Mr. Mohd Tarique.
In view of the above,
the Commission is under logical compulsion to make the public institutions
accountable and to make such recommendations as it deems fit to improve these institutions
into world class public institutions so that they become safe, caring spaces
providing relief to residents suffering from structural deprivation and ensure
their exit from the cycle of vulnerability.
Thanking you in
for Civil Liberties (CFCL)
Smt Vandana Kini,