Bombay High Court asks Maharashtra government to develop a plan for shelter homes

The Bombay High Court has said it is time the Maharashtra government develops a model plan for constant governance and supervision of shelter homes for children in the state.

The court also said that the government could also consult social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muuruganantham for supply of sanitary pads for girls staying in these homes.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and G S Kulkarni was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a city resident, Sangeeta Punekar, raising the issue of poor condition of a children’s shelter home in suburban Mankhurd.

The court said prima facie, the Mankhurd shelter home’s condition was not up to the mark.

“There is a need for constant governance, supervision and special care so as to maintain the condition of the shelter home. It is time the government comes up with a model plan which can then be emulated in all other shelter homes in the state,” Justice Patil said in an order on March 27.

The bench pointed out that the staff vacancies need to be filled immediately, the existing staff should be paid salaries on time, and the CCTVs should be in working condition and maintained regularly.

There should be regular medical check-ups of the children at the shelter home, and a proper supply of medicines and sanitary napkins, the court said.

“The issue of supply of medicines and sanitary napkins can be resolved within a day. There are so many NGOs working towards this. Why can’t the state government contact these NGOs?” Justice Patil asked.

The court also said that the government could consult Muruganantham, the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine.

Government pleader Purnima Kantharia assured the court that the government was looking into the issue seriously and that all necessary steps would be taken.

The bench then posted the petition for hearing on April 20, and asked the government to file a compliance report by then.

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