The High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the Chief Secretary to find out as to how 78 institutions have been allowed to house almost 2500 children in the state when none of the children have been identified as the ‘children in need of care and protection’ as recognised under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015.
The division bench of the High Court comprising Justice N M Jamdar and Prithviraj Chavan observed, “We want the Chief Secretary to ascertain, by involving police machinery, whether under the facade of presenting themselves as childcare institutions housing the CNCP, these institutions have engaged in any illegal and unauthorised activities in respect of the children.”
The petitioner ‘Stop Child Abuse Now’ (SCAN-Goa), an NGO, had raised the issue as regards the children in need of care and protection.
The High Court has observed that the picture that has emerged portrays an extremely serious state of affairs. In almost all cases there are no orders passed by the child welfare committee in respect of the children in need of care and protection in Goa. Therefore, the legal status of the 2500-odd children stated to be housed in 78 institutions in the state is not known. If there are no orders under the Act then these children cannot be considered as ‘children in need of care and protection’.
In what capacity the childcare institutions are keeping such children is not known. The registered institutions have to submit their reports under the Act. The state has the power and duty to verify the functioning of the
childcare institutions, the court further observed.
Seeking a thorough inquiry into the functioning of the directorate of women and child development over the children in need of care and protection, the High Court said, “An inquiry is also necessary in respect of role of each of the authorities under the Act of 2015 who are connected with the identification, housing and integrations of the CNCP. The Act of 2015 integrates police machinery also in the working of the Act which is indicated in Section 107. The inquiry, therefore, will have to be with the aid of police machinery.”
Source:: The Navhind Times