8 Feb 2022 2:59 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response from the Delhi Government regarding the steps taken by it in order to safeguard the interests of children, who were orphaned due to Covid-19, against trafficking. A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was dealing with a plea filed by Advocate Jeetender Gupta seeking directions to Centre and Delhi Government to...
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response from the Delhi Government regarding the steps taken by it in order to safeguard the interests of children, who were orphaned due to Covid-19, against trafficking.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was dealing with a plea filed by Advocate Jeetender Gupta seeking directions 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 Court had last year asked the Respondents to bring on record their counter affidavits and status reports in the matter.
During the course of hearing today, Gupta apprised the Court that while the Centre had filed its counter affidavit, the Delhi Government had failed to do so.
On this, the counsel representing the Delhi Government relied on the ongoing proceedings before the Supreme Court in the suo moto matter pertaining to the children in need of care and protection.
The counsel also stated that various directions have already been issued in the matter, adding that a policy has also been instituted by the Government whereby a compensation of Rs. 50,000 is being provided to families affected by COVID-19 deaths and Rs. 2,500 monthly contributions to families whose breadwinner was lost.
At the outset, Gupta referred to the specific prayer qua safeguarding the interests of the children who have been orphaned against the offence of human trafficking.
In this backdrop, Gupta specifically sought data on children who have been trafficked and also the steps taken by the Delhi Government to protect such children.
The Court has directed Delhi government to file its reply.
Earlier, Gupta had told the Court that merely because the Supreme Court has issued a general direction on the subject, it does not preclude the High Court from reviewing the situation within its jurisdiction.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development had then informed the Court that it has 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.
It had also submitted that Centre is taking necessary steps to save the best interest of the affected children and the petition being devoid of merits must be dismissed.
The Petitioner on the other hand claimed that many orphaned children are at the risk of being trafficked and prayed that interim custody of such children be granted to their relatives or to child care homes while also exploring options for legal adoptions.
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 affected children.
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.