The Supreme Court Friday directed district authorities across the county to immediately attend to the basic needs of children orphaned after March 2020 when the first wave of the Covid19 pandemic ravaged the country.
It also directed the district authorities to upload information on orphaned children on the portal “Bal Swaraj” before tomorrow evening.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati, and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) lawyer Swarupama Chaturvedi, informed the Court that a portal “Bal Swaraj” is operational and all the concerned district authorities have been given access to the portal with instructions to upload information pertaining to the identification of the children who have become orphans during the pandemic.
The court also directed the Central government and state government to furnish the latest information about the identification of orphaned children post-March 2020, whether it be due to the pandemic or otherwise, and the steps taken to attend to their basic needs.
The information was also directed to be given to advocate Gaurav Agarwal who is appearing in the matter as amicus curiae.
ASG Bhati, for the Centre, informed the court that instructions to the concerned authorities regarding the steps to be taken for the protection of children who had lost their parents to Covid-19 had already been issued.
“The provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 make it clear that there is an obligation on the part of the authorities to take care of children in need”, the court observed.
A bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose passed the order in an application moved by the amicus curiae seeking directions in respect of children who had lost either one or both parents to the coronavirus and the increased instances of child trafficking, especially of girl children.
The amicus curiae has been asked to prepare a note after receipt of the information from the Centre, NCPCR and state governments.
The matter will now be heard on June 1.
Click here to read the order
The article was originally published in The Leaflet.