Guidelines laid for mentally challenged children’s homes

Bombay High Court: A Bench comprising of A.S. Oka and A.A. Sayed, JJ has held that according to the Directive Principles of State Policy read along with the provisions of Section 34 of the  Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Section 50 of the said Act of 2015, it is the obligation of the State to establish and maintain an adequate number of children’s homes with the help of voluntary organizations and to also determine the MDC home requirements in the State.

This suo motu public interest litigation was initiated on the basis of a report in the Daily on 24-08-2010 about the inhuman condition of the Children’s Home by the name Satkarm Balgriha at Shahpur, District Thane.   All the children living in the said Children’s Home are mentally challenged.  It was reported that recently five children died due to starvation and malnutrition. By an order dated 3-09-2010, the Court on the basis of the said report, appointed Dr. Asha Bajpai, the Chairperson of the Centre for Socio ­Legal Studies and Human Rights, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to assist the Court as Amicus Curiae.

The Court also directed the State Government to pay grant at the rate of Rs. 2000 and Rs. 1500 per head per month to the MDC homes and to other children’s homes respectively, and also to pay a grant of Rs. 500 per head per month towards the administration purpose.

The Court also directed the continuation of the Co-ordination Committees and Divisional Co-ordination Committees and to add persons working from finance and law to the State level Co-ordination Committee. The order to nominate a Judicial Officer should continue with the direction to the Judicial Officer to forward the report of inspection to the State level Co-ordination Committee.

The Court also directed the State government to pay proper allowances including travel allowance to the members of the Committee for attending meetings and visiting the MDC homes, and to ensure that all children up to the age of fourteen in the MDC homes will get compulsory education. The State Co-ordination Committee was told to identify the institutions which provide for the children of MDC home after they attain majority and issue a scheme to accommodate these children after they attain the age of majority. [Article in Mumbai Mirror, Rescue Sham v. State of Maharashtra, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 418, order dated 07-04-2017]

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