Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Tuesday said society's failure to draw street children to mainstream and control the menace of child labour was the reason for them getting involved in "horrible" crimes like the recent gangrape and murder.
"These days at every traffic intersection we see so many children begging. Who are these children? They have no homes. It is juveniles like these who ultimately end up committing such dastardly and horrific crimes as witnessed on December 16, 2012.
"We need to bring them back to the mainstream society. Otherwise what they will do is this," Justice Kabir said speaking at the College Foundation Day celebration of the Calcutta Presidency College Alumni Association.
Justice Kabir is an alumni of the college having graduated in History from there.
The comments on street children come ten days after the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi Police and the Delhi government on a PIL raising a similar issue and also seeking to know how many child labourers have been rescued by the government.
Delivering a lecture on 'constitution and how far the citizens of this country have been able to secure to themselves the constitutional guarantees contained in the preamble of the constitution, he said “every citizen had a social responsibility to save the street children and do everything to provide them at least basic education.”
Justice Kabir said he had a good understanding of the issue as his wife Minna Kabir being a voluntary child rights activist in a Juvenile Justice Board was closely involved in the cause.
Later talking to reporters, Justice Kabir who is part of the three-judge bench set to hear Wednesday a petition filed by an accused seeking to shift the trial of the gangrape case out of Delhi said "my conscience is very clear about the case and what is to be done".