The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed the State to provide information on minor victims of any crime who were lodged in Women Protection Homes across the State and have since attained the age of majority.
The Bench comprising Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh further demanded to be informed about any policy in place for release of such victims from the protection homes after they attain majority.
It directed, "...the Department of Child and Women Welfare shall collect the information as to how many such victims of crime are presently housed in the Women Protection Homes across the State and have, during their stay, attained majority and further as to whether there is any scheme in place and in force evolved by the State Government for ensuring release/welfare of such victims of crime, who attain majority during their stay in protection home."
The Court was hearing a habeas corpus Petition filed by a woman's husband, who had sought his wife's release from the Government Women Shelter Home- Nari Niketan, Ayodhya. The woman had been housed in the shelter home pursuant to a direction issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate when she was a minor, as she had refused to reside with her parents.
Thereafter, in February this year, the Court had taken note of the issue relating to the release of minor victims after they attain majority. It had then directed the Principal Secretary for the State of Uttar Pradesh to file information on such minors.
During the hearing on 28 March, the woman was present before the Court and agreed to stay with her husband. Noting that she had attained the age of majority, the Court dismissed the petition, allowing her wish.
It, however, directed the issues highlighted by it to be registered as a Public Interest Litigation, opining that it "has an element of public interest and relates to the welfare of such minor victims and their release once they attain the majority".
The directions issued by it in February were then directed to be complied with within three weeks. The matter has accordingly been ordered to be listed after three weeks before an appropriate bench.