The Delhi High Court Wednesday declined to bar any fresh inquiry into the sexual assault and harassment of children at a privately-run orphanage in central Delhi where an NGO reported physical abuse.
NGO Haq Foundation in its report based on personal interviews and interactions with children who live in Arya Orphanage in Daryaganj said that the older residents and the staff members subjected a number of children to physical abuse and sexual assault.
B.P. Chaudhary, president of the Arya Orphanage in Daryaganj, pleaded before the high court that it should restrain the government from setting up any other committee as the children were traumatised after people visited the home and questioned them.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, however, told him that the government had not set up any other committee, and asked him to approach the court again if any other probe panel was set up and he had objections to it.
Chaudhary alleged that “more than 1,600 children have been staying here and due to some stray incidents the whole organisation cannot be blacklisted”.
During the hearing, the official administrator submitted a status report to the court that recommended a stop on fresh admissions to the orphanage as the residential accommodation for the children was not adequate.
The report said: “It has been felt that the orphanage does not have proficiently qualified officer-in-charge and counsellors.”
Earlier, taking suo moto cognizance of media reports, the court sought a report from the administrator appointed by Delhi’s lt. governor to look into the allegations by Feb 22.
The court would next hear the case Thursday.
Arya Orphanage earlier submitted that all allegations against it were baseless and that the court could appoint a judicial officer to inquire the matter.
“One cannot rule out that such things never happened in the orphanage. If such things have happened, it is your responsibility to take corrective action,” the court said.
The court said it was looking into the larger aspects in the matter, including orphanages running without registering under the relevant laws.
The report given to court alleged that the older residents and the staff members subjected a number of children to physical abuse and sexual assault.
According to the NGO, Haq Foundation, the “older boys” as well the warden of the orphanage had been sodomising the younger boys.