New Delhi [India], June 3 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that the loss of one or both parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic not only damages the children but also puts them in a vulnerable situation that could be manipulated to their disadvantage.
The observations came while a bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh while hearing a plea seeking rehabilitation of children, who lost their parents.
The Court directed various departments of the Delhi government to collect information on children whose one or both parents have died from all residents welfare associations, police stations, schools, Anganwadi workers and hospitals.
"Loss of one or both parents not only damages the children, but it also puts them in a vulnerable situation which could be manipulated to their disadvantage," the Court said.
The Bench also directed the Delhi Government's Health Principal Secretary to issue directions to Hospitals to furnish information to the Department of Women and Child Development with regards to the demise of parents of minor children, who have been orphaned.
During the hearing advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, appearing for Bachpan Bachao Andolan, took through the statutory scheme of the Juvenile Justice Act and said the government needs to connect children in need of care with families, who lost their kids.
The Court also noted that there are many families who have lost children willing to help such children or to sponsor foster care but observed the absence of a mechanism for sponsoring foster care for children in need of care due to lack of action taken in terms of the Juvenile Justice Act.
Expressing unhappiness due to no policy on foster care by the Delhi Government, the Court asked what the department of state government is doing.
"We are dismayed that even though the Juvenile Justice Act enacted was in 2015 and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) has a full-fledged department with the mandate to enforce provisions of the Act, little progress appears to be made. It appears that only after this Court has turned its focus on these aspects, there has been some activity undertaken," the Court said.
The Court asked the Delhi Government to bind with its status report and to ensure that each and every timeline set out in the status report.
It said that it is giving another opportunity to Delhi Government to implement the statutory schemes and warned that to face consequences if it finds on the next date that the statutory schemes have not been implemented on the ground.
The Court affixed the responsibility for the compliance of the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act on Secretary, Child Welfare Department, and Secretary of Social Welfare Department. (ANI)