New Delhi: In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked Bihar government to take steps to reunite eight out of 44 girls from Muzaffarpur shelter home with their families.

The top court bench of Justices NV Ramana, Mohan M Shanatanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi also directed the Bihar government to take steps to initiate the process of disbursing compensation to the girls under relevant schemes.

During the hearing, the apex court took on record that the Bihar government has agreed to provide financial, educational and medical assistance, including psychiatric help, to the girls.

Several girls were sexually assaulted at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, and the issue came to limelight following a report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) which had conducted a social audit there.

The verdict from the top court came after ‘Koshish’, a field action project of TISS, filed a status report before it in a sealed cover and said eight girls are fit to be handed over to their families.

Taking cognisance of a report filed by TISS, the top court had asked the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and the Bihar government to file their response by Thursday.

The counsel appearing for TISS told the bench that ‘Koshish’ has contacted the family members of five girls and the home visit is due.

The apex court had in July this year allowed ‘Koshish’ to interact with these children and their respective families to find out the acceptability of these children to their families and the repercussions thereupon.

The court was dealing with an application filed by Bihar government seeking permission to complete the process of rehabilitation and restoration of 44 girls of Muzaffarpur shelter home, who are presently residing in different shelter homes in the state, with their families.