The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Delhi government not to shift the minors living in a children’s home, which has been ordered to be closed due to certain deficiencies, saying it could be “traumatic” for them.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which comes under the Delhi government, to examine the matter with the seriousness it deserves and interview the minors at the children’s home itself.
The court said there was no requirement of producing the children before the CWC and if required, the CWC team can go to the children’s home to interview them and examine their mental state.
“Removing children from their habitat where they are living since birth may be undeniably traumatic for them.”
“The CWC shall examine the matter with the seriousness it deserves and take decision which is in the interest of the children,” the court said, listing the matter for further hearing on August 19.
The court was hearing a plea by in-charge of Children’s Home ‘Padre Pio Bhavan’, run by Divya Karunya Charitable Trust, challenging cancellation of its registration licence under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, due to certain deficiencies.
Advocate Sneha Mukherjee, appearing for petitioner Judithamma, said as a result of cancellation of the licence, the children who have been living in the home since their birth, would have to be forced to move to another Child Care Institution (CCI).
The authorities have asked them to produce the children residing there before the CWC for appropriate decision on shifting them to another CCI on an urgent basis.
As per the petition, presently, 14 children are staying in the Padre Pio Bhavan, who are between the age brackets of 817 years and most of them were born here.
It said the home was originally started for mentally-challenged women, and they rescued them from the streets, some of whom were pregnant.
As the women were not in a position to take care of themselves and their children, they stayed at the shelter home. Subsequently in 2015, the women were moved to another shelter home, but their children continued to live here due to its proximity to a school where they are studying, the plea said.
An inspection of the children’s home was done by authorities in which several shortcomings were noticed, including that the institute was being run in the backyard of a private home and the family members have equal access to the premises, which was a serious violation.
Another deficiency pointed out by the team was that the children were not able to give proper answers to the questions of the inspecting team.
Regarding the issue that three girls who were residing at the children’s home have gone to Jammu without the CWC’s permission, the court was informed that they have returned.
The court said the CWC can interview the girls to ensure that they are safe and unharmed.
It said the CWC shall examine the matter with the seriousness it deserves and take a decision, which is in the interest of the children and asked the committee to submit its report in two weeks.
The counsel told the court that several deficiencies have been cured now.