Delhi High Court asked the government to stop ‘the blame game’ and take urgent steps for the welfare of children living in juvenile homes in the capital.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan said: “None of us understands the problem of children. The need of the hour is to take concrete steps by working on ground level.” The court was hearing a public interest petition alleging rampant sexual abuse and ill-treatment of minors lodged in the juvenile homes.
“Why there should not be a committee at the ground level?” it asked the Delhi government counsel. Government counsel Mukta Gupta submitted that they have already taken steps and are conducting ‘surprise visits’ at these juvenile homes every month.
On this, Meera Kabir, a volunteer working in this field, submitted before the court that such visits do not solve any purpose as everything is dressed up before the committee visits the child home.
Kabir also cited the case of a boy who once had complained of sexual abuse and then had to be shifted to the Institute Of Human Behaviour And Allied Sciences for a month. The boy spent a month with the kids who were mentally disabled and is also undergoing treatment now, she said.
“It is a very sensitive issue and we just can’t repay the cost that boy has suffered because of the lax procedures. In certain cases, detention of such children can be avoided,” the bench said.
“It’s high time now and we should stop this blame game. Everybody is critical of each other and in this we cannot move forward. There is an urgent need of improvement in the procedure as such abuse is a complete destruction of childhood,” the bench said while asking the secretary of the social welfare department to appear in person Aug 19, the next date of hearing.