In a shocking reveal, the preliminary report of an ongoing social audit has brought to light that only 54 out of the total 2874 children’s homes in India deserve positive reviews, adding that the majority are grossly violating the legal protocols, reports The Times Of India.
The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been conducting a nationwide survey on all child care institutions (CCI) including children’s homes, open shelters, observation homes, specialised adoption agencies and others following an SC order.
The interim report presented to the SC has also mentioned that only 19 out of 185 shelter homes surveyed so far were maintaining detailed records of the children pertaining to the legal norms.
Reportedly, the Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur has referred to the contents of the report as “frightening”.
Details of the report
In the wake of widespread reports of sexual and physical abuse of several children in shelter homes in Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Deoria (UP) and the latest in Chennai, the SC had ordered a meticulous audit of all shelter homes operating in India.
An affidavit of the initial report was filed before the SC Bench by Advocate Anindita Pujari, representing NCPCR, who commented, “Even at this preliminary stage, it is emerging from a rapid analysis of data that there are very few institutions that have received positive remarks from various inspection committees or are maintaining proper data as has been mandated under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015,” quoted The Times Of India.
The report also highlighted that among 203 special adoption agencies, only 8 received positive remarks from all the 6 committees carrying out the audit. Merely 5 observation homes out of 172 inspected till July 31, had managed positive reviews, indicating that almost all other childcare homes were flouting every norm and regulation.
Advocate Pujari added, “Out of 80 special homes/places of safety, only three institutions had received positive reviews from all six committees,” stated The Times Of India.
The concerned NCPCR audit is scheduled to be concluded by October 2018. However, the horrifying statistics already surfaced, pose a monumental task for the State Governments to take immediate actions against all.
Objections from the Centre
Aparna Bhat, acting as the amicus curiae, insisted the court appoint an oversight committee for better supervision. Her proposal was objected by Centre’s counsel R Balasubramanian, who maintained the Centre’s earlier stance that strengthening of the existing committees would be enough.
The response of the SC
The SC Bench constituted by Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta were reportedly wary of the Centre’s continuous objections citing judicial intrusion into executive matters.
Justice Lokur said, “Is it the job of the court to correct all ills? The Centre passes the buck to the states.”
“It is very clear from this (NCPCR) report that nobody is interested. The court is helpless. If we do something, then it will be said that it is judicial activism,” The Hindu quoted Justice Lokur as remarking orally.
Incidentally, Justice Lokur focused on the phrase “separation of power” while commenting during the court session.
The SC Bench ended the session after ordering another hearing on September 25 and requested Aparna Bhat to create a draft reference on the proposed oversight committee.
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