The Gujarat High Court on Friday declined the plea of a mother to release her on temporary bail to attend to her children lodged in shelter homes.
The applicant, a murder convict, had urged that greater care is needed in the present times when the communicable respiratory disease called the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) has spread itself, that there is nobody who could take care of her children, and that the she may be allowed enlargement on temporary bail for a reasonable period so as to enable her to attend to and make arrangements for her children.
Noting that "in such times, the question of attending to the children of the parents who are in prison undergoing sentence assumes importance", the High Court sought from the Public Prosecutors "the information regarding the steps and measurements which the government may have taken to take care of such destitute children, who are in the Welfare Homes".
The Division Bench was informed that "the Juvenile Justice Committee of the High Court of Gujarat, Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the State Government have taken measures through the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of Gujarat". The bench noted an April 9 report communicating to the Court the several responsive and care taking measures the competent authorities have envisaged and enlisted specifically for the children living in the child care institutes in the context of COVID-19.
It was highlighted that "Child Welfare Committees are functional which, in coordination with the District Authorities concerned, have taken all necessary steps in the context of spread of corona virus so as to make available to the inmate children, the food, drinking water and other life necessities including the medical facilities" and that "Circulars are also issued". The Public Prosecutor as well as the Additional Public Prosecutor assured the Court that the steps and measures as are contemplated are duly implemented.
Apprised of the measures which are made afoot by the authorities concerned to take care of the children staying in the Child Care Institutes, the bench proceeded to observe that "In the situation arising and when the authority concerned have taken adequate steps as above, we are of the view that as far as the present case is concerned, the children of the applicant would be taken care of in the Child Care Home concerned. We do not see any good reason, therefore to allow to release the applicant on temporary bail for the purpose on the ground the release sought for".
At the same time, the Court required that "the authorities shall take proper care of the children of the applicant who are staying at the (concerned) Home. They would be properly attended to in terms of standards of hygiene, availability of food and medicine and in all other respects which may be the steps needed to be taken in the present situation of corona virus (COVID-19) spread"
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