12 Feb 2021 4:39 PM GMT
Observing that "We hope and trust that all stakeholders will rise to the occasion and in turn offer assistance in maximum possible manner," the Karnataka High Court on Friday directed senior officials of various departments to remain present before it on February 18, before a survey is conducted for identifying vulnerable children who are forced to sell toys, flowers etc on streets...
Observing that "We hope and trust that all stakeholders will rise to the occasion and in turn offer assistance in maximum possible manner," the Karnataka High Court on Friday directed senior officials of various departments to remain present before it on February 18, before a survey is conducted for identifying vulnerable children who are forced to sell toys, flowers etc on streets of Bengaluru.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum directed the Member Secretary of the Karnataka State Legal Service Authority (KSLSA) to prepare a list of stakeholders—Traffic police, BBMP officials, Child welfare committee members etc, whose assistance and help it will require for carrying out the survey. The bench said "Considering importance of work of survey it is necessary for cooperation of all the stakeholders."
After BBMP and the State Government did not respond to a direction of the court in terms of the order dated 18th November 2020, regarding collection of the data. The court had appointed Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) to ensure that its Secretary convenes a meeting of all the stakeholders for the purpose of evolving a scheme for identification of the children in the city of Bengaluru who are forced to sell toys, flowers, etc.
The authority placed a report before the court. On going through it, the bench appreciated the initiative taken by KSLSA. It was submitted that a data collection team (DCT) comprising law students and advocates and para-legal volunteers has been formed and training is being imparted to them.
Further it was said that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been formulated for conducting mapping and data collection of vulnerable children in the city at various vulnerable spots.
During the mapping work of the vulnerable spots in the city, which was conducted on Jan 29, around 886 vulnerable children were found in those spots. The authority also submitted that after two training sessions as indicated are conducted the very important work of actual survey will commence. The help of many stakeholders -traffic police, officers of the BBMP etc will be necessary and without their help and assistance a survey cannot be conducted.
Following which the bench said "To ensure this work of survey is done properly. It is necessary to procure the presence of all stakeholders for help and assistance, before the court."
The court directed the Member Secretary of the KSLSA to submit a list of the stakeholders to the registrar administration who can make arrangements in the courts conference room, following the norms of social distancing. The court also directed the state government to respond to what is stated in the report prepared by KSLSA, dated Jan 11.
The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed while hearing a petition filed by Letzkit Foundation. The bench had earlier observed "This is a serious issue as children who are forced to undertake such activities are deprived of right under article 21-A. Moreover, if circumstances are forcing them to do this act it may be violation of Article 21 as well."