The state government has been ordered to conduct medical examination of each of the 1,098 mentally challenged inmates in 27 orphanages run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the state.
The Bombay high court division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice DY Chandrachud also directed the government to take a review of all the 27 orphanages in order to ensure that they were complying with licence conditions.
The directives were issued in wake of incidents of physical and sexual abuse of mentally challenged inmates at Kavdas in Thane district.
The high court has taken suo-motu cognizance of the Kavdas orphanage case involving death of five mentally challenged children due to malnutrition.
Asha Bajpai, appointed by the court as amicus curiae (friend of the court), urged the judges to order medical examination of all mentally challenged inmates in all children’s homes across the state.
“These children are extremely vulnerable and therefore there must be some preventive action,” Bajpai said. “We need to know what is happening in other children’s homes.”
Additional government pleader Jyoti Pawar opposed the request stating there were more than 1.7 lakh children in various government-run and private children’s homes across the state.
“It has to be done,” justice Chandrachud said. “The whole problem is because the NGOs have failed.”
The judges, however, restricted the directive to the extent of private children’s home, especially those run by NGOs.