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[Children Orphaned In Covid] Constantly Engaging With States To Review Situation, Possibilities To Strengthen Child Protection Set Up: Centre Tells Delhi HC

Nupur Thapliyal
19 July 2021 11:58 AM GMT
[Children Orphaned In Covid] Constantly Engaging With States To Review Situation, Possibilities To Strengthen Child Protection Set Up: Centre Tells Delhi HC
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The Ministry of Women and Child Development has informed the Delhi High Court that it is constantly reviewing the situation of children who have been orphaned due to the Covid-19 pandemic, by conducting various meeting with States in the past six months.The Ministry has filed an affidavit in this regard while responding to a PIL seeking direction to Centre and Delhi Government to safeguard...

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The Ministry of Women and Child Development has informed the Delhi High Court that it is constantly reviewing the situation of children who have been orphaned due to the Covid-19 pandemic, by conducting various meeting with States in the past six months.

The Ministry has filed an affidavit in this regard while responding to a PIL seeking direction to Centre and Delhi Government to safeguard the interest of the children who have lost their parents to Covid-19 and who do not have anyone else to take care of them and face the risk of being trafficked.

The matter was listed on Monday before a division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh however, the same could not be heard due to their non-sitting.

In the affidavit, the Ministry has apprised the Court that it has published an advisory on its website addressing the aforesaid issue and is also making efforts for awareness generation on social media platforms.

"The States have been requested to issue public notice in local languages, to guide public regarding lawful course of action to be taken in such matters," the Centre has informed.

Furthermore, it has been provided thus:

"The Ministry has also released ad hoc grant under Child Protection Services, for the current financial year, to obviate any resource crunch while taking necessary measures in the best interest of children."

Stating that home ration has been distributed to a total of 2,78,79,715 children between 6 months to 3 years of age during 1st March to 24th May 2021, the affidavit states that since the Centre is taking necessary steps to save the best interest of the children who have been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, the petition being devoid of merits must be dismissed.

Claiming that many children who have lost their parents during Covid-19 are also facing a risk of being trafficked, the plea prayed:

"Interim custody of such children be granted to their relatives or to child care homes while also exploring options for legal adoptions after duly scrutinizing all those who have expressed interest to adopt such children."

The petitioner had stated that considering the urgency of the situation due to the complete collapse of health care infrastructure in national capital resulting in loss of hundreds of lives on a daily basis, the plea was being moved before the Delhi High Court to safeguard the security and the welfare of these children.

The plea averred that the respondents have failed to perform their statutory duty towards the protection of life and personal liberty of general public and that no action was taken to safeguard the interest of the children who have lost their parents to Covid-19.

Apart from this, the Petitioner had also sought financial compensation for the family members of those citizens who have lost their lives after being denied access to adequate health care in terms of hospital admission, oxygen cylinders, injections, medications, etc.

Case Title: Jeetendra Gupta v. UOI & Ors.

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