The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the Chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Women to provide information about the alleged cases of child rights violations in the state, during the lockdown period.
The bench comprised by Justice Soumen Sen and Justice Harish Tandon took notice of a newspaper article whereby the Chairperson had stated that there has been a spike of domestic violence cases during the lockdown, including reported cases of sexual abuse of children and violation of other child rights.
The Court therefore ordered,
"We direct the Chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Women to share information of child rights violation during the lockdown period as reported to the said Commission with the Learned Advocate General by Tuesday (23.06.2020) so as to enable the Learned Advocate General to place it before us on the next date of hearing."
The court has also asked the Home Secretary to file an affidavit disclosing all details relating to child rights violation cases in the state.
The order has been passed in a suo moto case registered for protection of children lodged in shelter homes, etc., from the contagion.
During the course of hearing, the court also ordered the Child and Social Welfare Department to provide details on the system developed by it to conduct "post-restoration follow up" on restored children.
The Department had informed the Court that DCPUs/ Staff of CCIs regularly follow up with restored children, about their physical and mental health, economic condition of the families, food security, sensitisation about taking precautionary measures against COVID 19 and so on. For this purpose, a structured questionnaire has been developed.
The court has now called for an affidavit to be filed by the Secretary, disclosing the nature of the instruction issued and materials and documents relating thereto including structured questionnaire with illustration of few cases, by 24th June, 2020.
Inter alia, the court has directed the Principal Secretary, Labour Department, Government of West Bengal to file an affidavit in relation to infringement of child rights via-a-vis labour laws and also disclosing the steps taken by the authorities to bring the perpetrators of such offenders to justice.
The matter is now listed for hearing on June 25, 2020.
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