Expressing concern over the growing number of cases relating to exploitation of minor children following their employment in households, the Delhi High Court has suggested that the NCT government formulate a scheme to prevent such harassment.
"The monitoring of functioning of placement agencies would have to be undertaken on a far more rigorous scale to ensure that minors are not allowed to be employed and placed in households. We would suggest to the GNCTD (Delhi government) to seek the involvement of the Child Rights Commission at the Centre and State level to formulate a scheme in the area," observed a Division Bench of Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice S Muralidhar.
To provide free legal aid to the minors under the Juvenile Justices Act, the Bench recommended that the Legal Services Authorities constitute a special panel of advocates with the requisite degree of sensitivity for such cases on a daily basis in the proceedings in the Juvenile Justice Board and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
"They should be available round the clock on call and a complete list of names with their telephone and mobile numbers should be available to these authorities for the purpose," the Bench said.
The court order came following a letter received from the Chairperson of CWC challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate's order dismissing its application for a baby's custody and allowing a couple to adopt a baby whose mother was a minor maid and a rape victim.
The committee contended that the Magistrate had ignored the adoption law and allowed a couple to take custody of an 18-day-old baby despite its submission that the baby boy was allegedly sold to the couple for adoption by a placement agency in Punjabi Bagh for Rs 23000 as the mother of the baby was a minor maid and a rape victim.
In September last year, an FIR was lodged against a placement agency by an NGO alleging that the agency failed to lodge a case of rape against the employer and in connivance with him the baby was sold to the couple for adoption.
Meanwhile, the Magistrate in its September 14 order said he had recorded the statement of the minor girl who had said she had no objection to handing over the baby to the couple.