The Bombay high court recently asked the state government when it would take steps to improve the conditions of shelter homes for children in Mumbai.
A bench of justices VM Kanade and CV Bhadang directed the state to file an affidavit detailing by when it would implement the suggestions of a high court-appointed committee, which recommended ways to improve such homes.The bench directed the state chief secretary to meet the principal secretaries of relevant departments to take a call on the issue and inform the court of their decision on May 3.
The bench took suo motu cognisance of a public interest litigation, which raised concerns over the poor state of shelter homes for children in Maharashtra.
In April 2016, the court had appointed a committee comprising non-government stakeholders and experts, who were asked to inspect shelter homes in Mumbai, submit a report on the state they were in and suggest ways to improve them.The committee submitted its recommendations in July 2016, following which the court had issued a slew of directions such as “prepare a model plan for shelter homes, come up with vocational training centres, develop playgrounds, sports complexes, and activity centres”.
At the last hearing on April 26, however, the bench observed that the state had failed to comply with the state’s orders and that it hadn’t even prepared a basic architectural plan.The bench thus, asked the state whether it intended to comply with the orders and how long it would take to do so.
“The government architect can prepare a model plan for an ideal children’s home, a vocational training centre, and other facilities, keeping in mind future requirements. The state must tell the court within how much time this can be done,” said the bench.
“The state must also tell the court if it proposes to make budgetary provisions for this task and if such provisions have been made in the vision document prepared for the state’s development,” it added.
The court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing in the second week of June.