Conditions in children homes: SC directs govt to submit note on funding and audits

The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of a particular case in Chennai wherein 35 children had tested positive for Coronavirus in a government-run shelter home

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
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NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court has directed the Amicus Curiae in the suo moto case on the conditions of children protection homes across the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to file an Affidavit compiling all the "good practices" from each of the States, so that a uniform order may be passed in the matter.

A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat heard the matter and directed the Amicus Advocate Gaurav Agarwal to prepare the note and circulate it amongst all the States. The Centre was also directed to submit a note regarding how funds were being spent and the subsequent audit of the same.

The directions were given in suo moto case titled "In Re Contagion of COVID-19 Virus in Children Protection Homes". The apex court had taken note of a particular case in Chennai wherein 35 children had tested positive for Coronavirus in a government-run shelter home. The Court sought for a status report from the State of Tamil Nadu regarding the reasons for the spread of the virus and the steps being taken to control it.

Today, Justice Rao directed the Amicus to submit a note, compiling all the good practices from each of the States, so that a uniform order could be passed based on the same.

Justice Rao further noted that it was the responsibility of the States to take care of the children.

"It is the State's responsibility to take care of these children. Instead of focusing individually on health, education etc., we will pass a common order."

Amicus Gaurav Agarwal then submitted to the Court that the funding pattern was 60:40, wherein a substantial chunk of the funds was given by the States. He further submitted that States had demanded 100, but the issue at hand was to find out how the funding could be done.

Accordingly, the Bench directed ASG Aishwarya Bhati, appearing on behalf of the Centre, to submit a note regarding how funds were being spent and the subsequent audit of the same.

The matter will now be listed on August 13.

On April 3, the Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognizance of the condition of children in protection, juvenile and foster or kinship homes across the country amid the Coronavirus outbreak, and had issued directions to the State governments and various other authorities to protect them.

The Bench had also issued detailed directions to the Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards and Children Courts, Child Care Institutions (CCI) and the State Governemts to prevent the spread of the virus amongst children.

'There are children who need care and attention, and children in conflict with law who are kept in various types of homes. There are also children who are kept in foster and kinship care. In these circumstances, it was felt that the interest of these children should be looked into", the Bench stated while taking cognizance of the matter.

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