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Upload information about children orphaned due to Covid: SC to Districts

District authorities across all states have been given time till May 30 to get the latest information about such children and the steps taken for their basic needs

Sabrangindia 28 May 2021

Image Courtesy:rediff.com

A Supreme Court Bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose has directed the district authorities under the Juvenile Justice Act to immediately upload information of children who have been orphaned after March 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, and immediately take charge of such children without waiting for any further orders.

While hearing the suo moto case In Re: Contagion of Covid in Children Protection Home, the court took note of an application filed by the Amicus Curiae Gaurav Agrawal seeking directions with respect to children who have been adversely impacted due to the pandemic by losing either one or both parents, reported LiveLaw. He also highlighted increased incidents of child trafficking especially of girl children.

The Division Bench directed the Additional Solicitor General, Aishwarya Bhati, for Union of India and counsels for states to procure the latest information on identification of children who have been orphaned, and the steps taken to attend to their basic needs by May 30. It has also ordered that it does not need States to file affidavits at this stage. Amicus Gaurav has been directed to prepare a note after receiving information from all State counsels, and circulate it by Monday (May 31) evening.

As per a LiveLaw report, the Bench also noted, “ASG Bhati and Counsel for NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) have submitted that all concerned district authorities may be directed to upload information mentioned above immediately or latest by tomorrow evening for purpose of gathering statistics of children orphaned in pandemic.” A portal named ‘Bal Swaraj’ is operational at all concerned district authorities who have been given access to it with instructions to upload necessary information.

The Bench also told the Centre, “Give us the figures of children who’ve lost parents, both as well as one. Please find out the number and what it is that states have done under the act (Juvenile Justice Act) and if they’ve been attended to immediately. If they haven’t, please instruct officials to start identifying these children.”

Submissions before the SC

Gaurav Agarwal submitted that NCPCR has already taken cognisance of this issue in April as there were some news reports that orphans were being adopted illegally. This led them to come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) for state authorities to initiate any adoption process.

He added that NCPCR has also set up an online portal whereby the state authorities have to feed in data regarding children and the various steps taken by them for rehabilitation. LiveLaw reported that since NCPCR is a commission which is a guidance/recommendatory body, these SOPs should be implemented by state authorities, which is why the application was moved.

ASG Bhati, apprised the court about the steps taken by the Union like issuing advisories specifically for orphans, single parents, abandoned or seemingly abandoned children. Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, a Child Welfare Committee is set up in each district to look over cases of protection, rehabilitation, etc.

Further, she also told the court that the Centre has issued directions that One Child Care Institute in each district has to be earmarked for such children in need. LiveLaw quoted her saying, “We have also declared children protection staff as frontline workers for the purpose of vaccination which has enabled roughly 50 percent of child care protection staff to be vaccinated.” There are telemedicine services made available with the help of some doctors for both physical and mental health care for both children care homes and the staff.

Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani had recently tweeted about committing efforts to support 577 children who lost their parents to Covid-19 between April 1 and May 25, 2021. But a non-government organisation Save The Children told SabrangIndia that considering the number of Covid-death underreporting and rising number of children losing one parent, the situation may be worse than what the figure suggests.

The order may be read here:

Related:

GoI claims 577 Covid-orphans, but numbers may far exceed official data: Outreach workers
Is the right to health a forgotten constitutional mandate?
Covid-19 Vaccine: Where are the crores of doses manufactured, but not administered?

Upload information about children orphaned due to Covid: SC to Districts

District authorities across all states have been given time till May 30 to get the latest information about such children and the steps taken for their basic needs

Image Courtesy:rediff.com

A Supreme Court Bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose has directed the district authorities under the Juvenile Justice Act to immediately upload information of children who have been orphaned after March 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, and immediately take charge of such children without waiting for any further orders.

While hearing the suo moto case In Re: Contagion of Covid in Children Protection Home, the court took note of an application filed by the Amicus Curiae Gaurav Agrawal seeking directions with respect to children who have been adversely impacted due to the pandemic by losing either one or both parents, reported LiveLaw. He also highlighted increased incidents of child trafficking especially of girl children.

The Division Bench directed the Additional Solicitor General, Aishwarya Bhati, for Union of India and counsels for states to procure the latest information on identification of children who have been orphaned, and the steps taken to attend to their basic needs by May 30. It has also ordered that it does not need States to file affidavits at this stage. Amicus Gaurav has been directed to prepare a note after receiving information from all State counsels, and circulate it by Monday (May 31) evening.

As per a LiveLaw report, the Bench also noted, “ASG Bhati and Counsel for NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) have submitted that all concerned district authorities may be directed to upload information mentioned above immediately or latest by tomorrow evening for purpose of gathering statistics of children orphaned in pandemic.” A portal named ‘Bal Swaraj’ is operational at all concerned district authorities who have been given access to it with instructions to upload necessary information.

The Bench also told the Centre, “Give us the figures of children who’ve lost parents, both as well as one. Please find out the number and what it is that states have done under the act (Juvenile Justice Act) and if they’ve been attended to immediately. If they haven’t, please instruct officials to start identifying these children.”

Submissions before the SC

Gaurav Agarwal submitted that NCPCR has already taken cognisance of this issue in April as there were some news reports that orphans were being adopted illegally. This led them to come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) for state authorities to initiate any adoption process.

He added that NCPCR has also set up an online portal whereby the state authorities have to feed in data regarding children and the various steps taken by them for rehabilitation. LiveLaw reported that since NCPCR is a commission which is a guidance/recommendatory body, these SOPs should be implemented by state authorities, which is why the application was moved.

ASG Bhati, apprised the court about the steps taken by the Union like issuing advisories specifically for orphans, single parents, abandoned or seemingly abandoned children. Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, a Child Welfare Committee is set up in each district to look over cases of protection, rehabilitation, etc.

Further, she also told the court that the Centre has issued directions that One Child Care Institute in each district has to be earmarked for such children in need. LiveLaw quoted her saying, “We have also declared children protection staff as frontline workers for the purpose of vaccination which has enabled roughly 50 percent of child care protection staff to be vaccinated.” There are telemedicine services made available with the help of some doctors for both physical and mental health care for both children care homes and the staff.

Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani had recently tweeted about committing efforts to support 577 children who lost their parents to Covid-19 between April 1 and May 25, 2021. But a non-government organisation Save The Children told SabrangIndia that considering the number of Covid-death underreporting and rising number of children losing one parent, the situation may be worse than what the figure suggests.

The order may be read here:

Related:

GoI claims 577 Covid-orphans, but numbers may far exceed official data: Outreach workers
Is the right to health a forgotten constitutional mandate?
Covid-19 Vaccine: Where are the crores of doses manufactured, but not administered?

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