New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on the condition of children in protection, juvenile and kinship homes in the country in the backdrop of Covid-19.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi sought response from the NCPCR, while taking suo moto cognisance of the letter, issued by the child rights body, which directed eight states, having 70 per cent of children in care homes, to facilitate restoration of children to their families. The bench has slated the matter for further hearing on October 24.
During the hearing, the bench noted that a general direction would not be sufficient in the matter, in the backdrop of multiple aspects: permission of parents, health, checking on education etc.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, to take instructions in the matter.
On September 24, NCPCR had issued a letter to Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Mizoram and Karnataka.
The child rights body had emphasised that children have the right to grow up in a family environment, and this decision was taken in the concerns originating regarding their safety in these homes.
Senior advocate Gaurav Agrawal, appointed amicus curiae in the matter, brought on record the letter citing the pandemic still exists in these eight states and the NCPCR should not have issued it.
Earlier, the top court had issued directions to the state governments and other authorities concerned to ensure steps are taken to protect children amid the pandemic. The bench also asked Agarwal to list out good practices adopted in various states for the welfare of children.
The NCPCR had directed the district magistrates and collectors of these states to ensure that within 100-day period children return to their families, and insisted it will monitor this entire exercise.