Irked at Maharashtra government’s apathy to follow up on rescued child labourers returned to their parents, the Bombay High Court remarked that the children would be better off on the streets than in children’s homes.
The division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice A.R. Joshi directed the government to produce records of 670 children rescued in Mumbai on Friday. These children have been sent back to their parents.
Additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamath-Pai told the court that the government should collect information about schools that these children (who are rescued and sent back to their parents) go to.
“Give us the names at least. If you don’t have the information about schools, that is enough evidence to show that you (government) are not following it up,” said Justice Nazki.
Advocate Rebecca Gonsalves, who was appointed as amicus curie (friend of the court) in the case, informed the court that the government was not following its own rules set in 2007.
“The central government rules state that for two years after child is sent back to its parents, the government has to follow up on their education. This is to ensure that the children are not sent back to labour,” said Gonsalves.
When the judges asked about the education provided to children in rehabilitation homes, Kamath-Pai said that they give vocational training to children in homes.