The Hon’ble bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice L Nageswara Rao and Hon’ble Justice Aniruddha Bose took Suo motto case of children who are orphaned due to Covid-19.
The Hon’ble bench while hearing the instant petition noted that information provided in the ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal as of 5th June 2021 highlights that there are around 30,071 children who are orphans, abandoned, and children who have lost one of their parents.
In the due course Mr. K.M. Nataraj, learned Additional Solicitor appearing for NCPCR submitted that the NCPCR portal must be regularly updated on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, the learned Additional Solicitor also submitted that there are many instances wherein public announcements have been made affecting the identity of children by some agencies and individuals. Further, the learned Additional Solicitor also submitted that illegal adoptions should be reported.
Furthermore, Ms. Shobha Gupta, learned counsel appearing for ‘We the Women of India’ humbly submitted before the Hon’ble court that there should be wide publicity of schemes for the benefit of children who are orphans, abandoned, and children’s who have lost one of the parents. Additionally, the learned counsel also highlighted that provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 should be followed by the State Governments/Union Territories under Section 108 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 for publicity.
Subsequently, the Hon’ble Court directed the State Governments/Union Territories to continue identifying children’s who are orphaned, abandoned and children’s who have lost one of their parents after March 2020 with the help of child helpline, health officials, panchayat raj institutions, etc. in continuation it was also directed by the Hon’ble court to the State Governments/Union Territories to regularly update information on NCPCR portal without delay.
Moreover, based on submissions made by learned counsel Ms. Shobha Gupta the Hon’ble Court directed that there must be wide publicity of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and schemes announced by State Governments/Union Territories for the benefit of children’s who are orphaned, abandoned, and children’s who have lost one of the parent and children’s who need care and protection.
Additionally, the Hon’ble Court directed the DPCU to contact affected children and their guardians immediately on the receipt of information regarding the death of parent/parents and assess the willingness and suitability of guardian and to ensure that adequate food, ration, medicines are available and provided to the affected child.
In furtherance, the DPCU has also been directed by the Hon’ble Court to furnish details of a local official who can be contacted by child and guardian. And there must be a regular follow-up of the child by authorities concerned.
Lastly, “The State Governments/Union Territories should make provisions for continuance of education of children both in both private and public schools” the Hon’ble court directed.