SC Seeks States’ Reply On Protection Of Rights Of Migrant Children Amid Covid
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a plea filed by the Child Rights Trust and a resident of Bengaluru, seeking directions for the protection of the fundamental rights of migrant children in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The top court has allowed the petitioners to make states/UTs parties in the matter.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “Application for impleadment is allowed. Issue notice to the newly added party respondents returnable in two weeks. As prayed for, the petitioner is allowed to take steps to serve the standing counsel of the states/UTs in the meantime.”
The plea, filed through advocate Rukhsana Choudhury, argues that children of migrants and migrating children remain invisible and are the most vulnerable, who are denied access to healthcare and proper nutrition, living in unhygienic and testing conditions.
“Migrant children affected due to Covid-19 are still working in brick kilns, stone crusher units, construction sites, rice mills, plantations and other sectors where children as young as five years lend a hand to help their parents earn their daily sustenance,” the plea said.
During the hearing, the bench considered an application to implead all the state governments in the matter.
Senior advocate Jayna Kothari, representing the petitioner, requested the court to issue directions on the prayers regarding sharing data of out of school migrant children and a plan to provide temporary education to them till the schools reopen.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, said the application may be allowed, as many schemes are centrally funded but are executed by the state governments. Bhati submitted that she will file an affidavit in the matter which will be submitted within two weeks.
“As prayed for, Aishwarya Bhati, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the respondent – Union of India, is allowed to file a reply affidavit in the meantime,” the top court said in its order.