SC asks states to draw up plans that cater to every child in welfare homes
State governments will need to formalise plans to ensure that children at shelter homes are well cared for.india Updated: Jun 01, 2017 10:36 IST
Concerned over apathy shown by childcare homes towards rehabilitation of homeless and victimised juveniles in need of care and protection, the Supreme Court has directed state governments and union territories to draw a plan for every child living in observations homes so that adequate training is imparted to secure their future.
A bench headed by Justice MB Lokur gave the direction on a PIL based on a 2007 news report which highlighted the alleged sexual exploitation of children in orphanages in Mahabalipuran in Tamil Nadu.
The plan would require detailed interaction with each child to ascertain his or her area of interest. This would be a continuous process, the court said. Explaining the positive outcome the verdict would have on rehabilitation schemes meant for juveniles, advocate Aparna Bhat said: “This directive would help a child pursue a vocation voluntarily to develop a skill for his or her livelihood. Now, the homes force children living there to attend all skill-development classes without knowing what the child is keen on. This is a wasteful exercise.”
The top court also asked the government to expand the definition of the expression “children in need of care and protection” in the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 (JJA) to include those who are victims of sexual abuse and trafficking. The court felt there should be a broader interpretation the clause to include these categories too.
Once the phrase gets a purposive interpretation, those children who are victims of sexual crime can derive the benefits outlined in the JJA. It would empower them to access government schemes such s legal aid etc.
The court has also called for exploring adoption, foster care and sponsorship to rehabilitate children in need of care and protection, rather than lodging them in institutions. “If there has to be re-integration of such children with the society, the options suggested by the court should be looked into and implemented,” Bhat said.