19 Feb 2021 10:11 AM GMT
Observing that "the Object is not to penalise anybody but the object is to ensure that children who are forced to selling toys and other articles on the streets they must be imparted with education," the Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Karnataka State Legal Service Authority (KSLSA) to commence the data collection survey for identifying vulnerable children who are forced...
Observing that "the Object is not to penalise anybody but the object is to ensure that children who are forced to selling toys and other articles on the streets they must be imparted with education," the Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Karnataka State Legal Service Authority (KSLSA) to commence the data collection survey for identifying vulnerable children who are forced to sell toys, flowers etc on streets of Bengaluru.
Division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum while hearing the matter in the high court conference room, which was attended by senior officials from various departments and NGOs repeatedly mentioned that "What we are doing is for the welfare of the children. Nobody should carry an impression that data collection will have any other consequences."
In its order the bench said "All stakeholders who are going to participate are fully aware that the ultimate object of the Data Collection Team is to render all possible assistance to vulnerable children and especially in the matter of their education and their Rights under Right to education Act. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders including the police to ensure that activity of data collection is not linked with any action which is initiated by the state government under the THE KARNATAKA PROHIBITION OF BEGGARY ACT, 1975."
It added "We also make it clear that in what manner rights of the children can be protected will only be decided after proper collection of data and analysis of the same. The facts revealed during collection of data will have to be analysed and therefore no authority should be in hurry to take any action on the basis of facts revealed during the collection of data."
However, "If there are serious cases of child trafficking noticed all concerned will be free to take appropriate action."
The court made these observations while hearing a petition filed by Letzkit foundation, highlighting the issue of children being forced to sell things on the streets in the city.
The bench also clarified that "This exercise shall not be misunderstood as it is an attempt to penalise anybody or initiate action which will cause any harm or prejudice to children who already belong to vulnerable groups of children. It is only after work of collection of data is completed in a scientific manner further action will have to be initiated."
The court also held a view that it is quite possible that parents or persons accompanying minor children at vulnerable spots may have several apprehensions about the object of data collection, therefore there will be a need to be sensitive to the person accompanying the children on the object of data collection. It said "That is the reason that none of the authorities will take any action simultaneously with the activity of collection of data. More comprehensive exercise will be undertaken after collecting data."
It opined "Exercise which is proposed is only a first step and it has to continue. Therefore, any errors committed while collecting the data can be rectified in the subsequent exercise. It is the duty of all stakeholders, who participate in the work data collection to ensure that children or parents or adults accompanying them are fully made aware that the purpose of data collection if for the benefit of the children."
It was informed to the court that members of Special Juvenile Police Unit, will be associated with all the 8 DCT teams and though they will be associated they will remain in background and will be in civil dress. Further, traffic police will share video clips available with them and watch the activity from a distance.
BBMP assured the court that Joint Commissioners of BBMP will be constantly coordinating with DCT members. BBMP will provide private vehicles to all 8 DCT teams and provide for food and accommodation at the time of conducting data surveys.
Moreover, in the event concerned authorities rescue children in accordance with law, BBMP has agreed to set up temporary health care units in all eight zones for testing them for Covid-19. The Joint Commissioners will also maintain day to day data in the format mentioned in the booklet provided by KSLSA.
The NGO which is running Childline Foundation is to provide data of vulnerable children at vulnerable spots to DCT members.