HC slams govt for deaths in orphanage | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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HC slams govt for deaths in orphanage

Rapping the state machinery for its apathetic approach towards mentally challenged children in private orphanages, the high court on Thursday directed the state to file its reply within a week.

mumbai Updated: Sep 10, 2010 01:24 IST
HT Correspondent

Rapping the state machinery for its apathetic approach towards mentally challenged children in private orphanages, the high court on Thursday directed the state to file its reply within a week.

The Bombay High Court has taken suo motu [on its own motion] notice of the plight of mentally challenged children in Satkarm Balgriha at Kavdas in Thane's Shahapur tehsil where five children recently died of malnutrition and starvation.

The other children at the orphanage too suffer from severe malnutrition.

On September 3, the high court had issued a notice to the government, following news reports about the plight of the mentally challenged children.

On Thursday, government pleader Jyoti Pawar blamed the Child Welfare Committee of Thane district for the plight of the children.

She pointed out that the committee members had visited the orphanage before the news reports but they had failed to take action.

Pawar informed the court that an FIR has been lodged against the institution, which runs the orphanage, and its in-charge Pundalik Bole has been arrested.

A notice has also been issued to the district child welfare officer, Thane, she added.

But the belated action failed to impress the court.

"Can't you take action on your own?" asked the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. "Is this the first time that something has gone wrong with your system?"

Dr Asha Bajpai, chairperson of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Human Rights of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, who has been appointed by the court as amicus curae [friend of the court], said the child welfare officer of the district was also to be blamed.

"It's a collective failure of the entire system," said Bajpai. "What has the inspector, who is supposed to visit the orphanage regularly, done? Where are his inspection reports?"

The bench directed the government to file the affidavit on what corrective steps it plans to take within a week.