“Why don’t you stop all this tamasha?”
That’s what an irked Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay High Court told the state government on Tuesday. The remark was made over that the government’s “efforts” to show that child labourers who were rescued and sent back to their parents were being sent to schools.
A report was submitted by advocate Rebecca Gonsalves who had been appointed as amicus curie (friend of the court), after visiting four rescued children sent back to their parents.
Following the court’s order, Gonsalves and advocate Vijay Hiremath visited four children to ensure they were pursuing their education as claimed by the government.
The amicus curie’s report said three of the four children had been attending school even before they were “rescued” and sent to the Child Welfare Committee.
Two of the children had been picked up for working at a tea stall and a garage. Another was at his father’s tea stall during school vacation when he was picked up, said Gonsalves.
The fourth child had gone to learn motorcycle repair work at a garage during vacations when he was picked up, said Gonsalves.
The HC observed that such an exercise by the government did not serve any purpose. “Why spend money if it is not giving results? This propaganda has been going for so many years,” said Justice Nazki.
Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai argued that rescued children were being given vocational training and those who stayed for a longer period, over two to three years, were sent to school.
Pai submitted that the state was inclined to frame rules along the lines of the Central government which state that rescued children be monitored for two years.
The HC had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter by a formed judge, highlighting the issue of child labour following news reports.