Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea asking the court to direct that the statements under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 'children in need of care and protection' shall be recorded by the Magistrate through video conferencing, and the physical presence of the children for the same shall be dispensed with.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan has issued notices to the Delhi Government, Commissioner of Delhi Police, among others, and have asked them to file a reply within a week.
Filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the present writ petition seeks a direction to be issued to the Delhi Government and the Commissioner of Delhi Police to ensure that all proceedings by different authorities under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, shall be conducted through video conferencing to keep the children safe from contracting the COVID19 infection.
'When Karkardooma courts are conducting virtual hearings through video conferencing, why are the police forcing children in need of care of protection to physically go to the court for recording their statements under section 164 of CrPC', the Petitioner argued.
The Petitioner further submitted that no authority shall pass an order requiring a child in need of care and protection to be physically taken out of the Childcare Institute till his/her repatriation in accordance with law.
'Instead of taking children to government hospitals, testing for COVID19 of children in need of care and protection should be conducted at the Childcare Institute itself', the Petitioner argued.
In addition to this, the Petitioner has asked for a direction to be issued to the Delhi Government to take measures and create a mechanism ensuring that a rescued child is tested for COVID19 at the earliest, preferably before the child is sent to the childcare home.
Appearing for the State, Mr Sameer Vashisht submitted that the officers do not have objections with the demands raised in the petition.
However, Mr Vashisht argued that he would like to take instructions on the issue of Magistrate recording statements under section 164 of CrPC through video conferencing.
The court will next take up this matter on July 28.
Petitioner organisation in this case is being represented by Ms Prabhsahay Kaur.