HC seeks govt’s ‘action plan’ to meet deficiencies in orphanages

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday directed government to indicate the action of plan to meet the deficiencies in Orphanage homes across the state.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also sought status report from Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department, with regard to registration of private orphanages run by non-governmental agencies.

It also directed that government to provide information about progress of child welfare committees in the state.

The Court, after perusal of a report of SWD, said that it do not address the issues provided in the Act.

“In particular affidavit do not reveal number of homes as also staff strength,” the court said, adding “first of all provide us whether specifications provided under the Act are fulfilled”.

The court also warned the Commissioner Secretary that against failure to make up for the deficiencies and said: “we will pass ‘mandamus’ to you, then you cannot divert from these directions,”.

“It is you duty to get the Act implemented on ground level. We will give you time as thing do not happen in a night but you have to take serious steps as required under rules,” the court said.

Earlier, as the commissioner secretary (SWD) appeared before the court, he was asked by the division bench as to why he did not appear on last date of the hearing.

He submitted that he was required by some committee and the Court pointed out to him that he should have informed the Advocate General for his non-appearance.

“When court deals with a PIL, then you all officers should have been here,” the court said.

The court was hearing a PIL, initiated on the basis of a news report in 2013.

The news report had highlighted that the basic rights of the children had been denied to them and they were suffering from anaemia and other serious medical ailments. It also revealed that authorities were forcing the children to do menial jobs like washing clothes and sweeping floors.

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