The Tripura High Court on Friday closed the suo-moto PIL registered against the plight of a minor girl aged about 14 years, native of North Tripura, who was sold to a family in Rajasthan due to abject poverty of her family.
The division comprised of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S Talapatra has disposed of the PIL after it was informed that the 14-yr-old was brought back to Tripura, with liberty to the all the concerned authorities to make an application in case any interference is required by the Court in similar cases.
The bench noted that the authorities had swung into action and were taking positive steps to remedy similar cases. The National Commission for Child Protections had informed the Court that four minors from Tripura were found struggling in the state of Uttar Pradesh and efforts were being made to bring them back.
Based on the assurance the division bench observed,
"We are sure the concerned agencies including the State Government, State Commission for Child Protection, National Commission as well as the State Legal Services Authority shall perform their statutory duty in ensuring that if there are any such similar cases arising from the State of Tripura, the minors would be brought back to the State as soon as possible and attempt would be made to reunite them with their families.
It would thus appear that this Public Interest petition has served its purpose. We would close the Public Interest petition with above observations. "
"However, at any stage, any of the above referred agencies or any other State or statutory authority requires any intervention from the Court for the purpose of ensuring release of any minors who may be languishing outside the State under similar circumstances, it would be open for the concerned agency to make an application in this Public Interest petition which the Court would consider in accordance with law."
So far as the 14-yr-old girl in the present case is concerned, the Court was informed on the previous date of hearing that the girl was sexually abused, was carrying a pregnancy of about two and half months and had tested for Covid-19. On Friday it was informed that her widowed mother was reluctant to take her back.
In view of these circumstances, the Court has asked the State Legal Services Authority to explore such provisions/ schemes where the girl or her family may be entitled to compensation, either lumpsum or periodic.
"The State Legal Services Authority in conjunction with the State Commission for Child Protection shall continue the efforts to reunite the girl with her family. In our view that would be the best possible scenario for the girl. The said Legal Services Authority shall also explore if there are any schemes for payment of periodic or lump sum compensation to the victims in such cases. If there is any such scheme, efforts would be made to ensure that the girl and/or her family receives the benefits of such scheme. If there is a possibility of payment of ex gratia compensation from the funds of the State Legal Authority, the same may also be explored," the bench ordered.
Case Title: Court on its own motion v. State of Tripura & Ors.
Case No.: WP(C)(PIL) No.6/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S Talapatra
Appearance: Govt. Advocate Debalaya Bhattacharjee and Advocates CS Sinha, P Dhar, Kohinoor Narayan Bhattachayya, Arijit Bhowmik, Anindita Pujari and Swarupa Chisim (for State)
Click Here To Download Order