August 14, 2018:
On Tuesday, Supreme Court stated that it was concerned over sexual and physical abuse of children at shelter homes across India and asked Centre what action has it taken in the cases related to such abuse of 1,575 minors.
Apex Court comprising of Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice S Abdul Nazeer while asking Government to consider framing a child protection policy, observed that According to social audit conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development from 2015 to March last year, 1,575 children were abused and now were living in the shelter homes.
Bench further added that,”We are concerned about whether the children are looked after properly or whether they are abused in shelter homes”.
Supreme Court Bench asked ASG Pinky Anand, who was appearing for the Centre as to what action has been taken in these cases.
“1,575 boys and girls are victims of sexual and physical abuse. What have you done about it? Which are the shelter homes where they are kept? What action the states have taken on this,” the SC Bench asked ASG.
The ASG told the apex court that social audit report was shared with states last year itself.
“Tell us which states have not taken any action,” Apex Court questioned ASG.
To which ASG stated that she would get instructions on this and get back to the court.
Government submitted before the Court that social audit of child care institutions was conducted by the ministry in 678 districts across the country and as per the report, children were residing in 9,589 such homes.
It further added that out of these institutions, 32 per cent child care institutions were registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act while 33 per cent were unregistered.
Bench questioned that,”Did they talk to the children (during the audit)” adding, “Did they find out any incidents of sexual or physical abuse?”
“We are concerned with that and not with this kind of audit. Are the children living there are happy or are they unhappy,” SC Bench asked.
When the ASG said that agency conducting social audit had talked to the children during the process, the bench observed that according to the report, 1,575 children, including 286 boys, were either sexually or physically abused.
The bench said that the affidavit filed by the ministry was “totally unrelated” with the issue which was being dealt with by the apex court.
The ASG said that social audit was being carried out by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the process was likely to be completed by October end.
She said that social audit of over 3,000 homes have already been done by NCPCR and most of the states have given consent for it.
Source The New Indian Express