Three minor girls from Jharkhand have moved the Supreme Court against the Gurgaon Child Welfare Committee’s (CWC) order permitting the state police to take them away back to their villages.
Taking note of the petition, a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar on Friday stayed the CWC’s order and issued a notice to it. A response from the Jharkhand Police was also sought.
In their petition before the top court, the minor girls — aged 14, 12 and 10 — said they did not want to go back and that the CWC issued the orders without hearing them. The committee’s order came on the Jharkhand Police’s application seeking the girls’ custody on the ground that they belonged to the state and should hence be asked to go back.
The trio has been living in a shelter home — The Shelter Progetto India — Gurgaon for over seven years and are students.
Advocate Wills Mathews, appearing for the girls, said two of the three girls came from a very poor family in Jharkhand and were living in the shelter home with their brother who works as a driver there. The third girl, aged 10, doesn’t have a mother and her father was undergoing treatment for a serious ailment. The three go to international board school in Manesar and are excellent in their studies, Mathews said.
Terming the CWC’s order illegal, the petitioners said they were competent to take their own decisions despite being minors. The petitioners are also prepared to appear before the SC or any other authority to make known their intention of continuing to live in the shelter home.
They said in the absence of a formal complaint by an individual the CWC could not have ordered their return. Also, they are living in Gurgaon with the permission of their parents and were taken care of by those running the shelter.