The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the government of Jharkhand on a plea filed by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) alleging selling of children in the charity homes run by the Missionaries of Charity. The Commission, being a statutory body, approached the top court in their capacity as parens patriae of the aggrieved children.
The petitioner seeks a court-monitored probe through the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the workings of such organisations in a time-bound manner. Through the plea filed by advocate Swarupama Chaturvedi, NCPCR alleged that the Jharkhand government was following a "callous approach" in protecting children against child rights violations so the fundamental right of prohibiting human trafficking, under Article 23, could be enforced. The Commission also prays for directions to set up an SIT not only in Jharkhand, but in every state.
Additionally, directions have been sought to ensure all states and Union territories facilitate and cooperate with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in going about with their work smoothly. Accordingly, the bench headed by CJI SA Bobde issued notice to the state governments of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala as well.
It has been alleged that despite "shocking revelations" which were made by victims during inquiry that children were being sold in homes were "emphatically brought" to the notice of the state government, "continuous attempts were made to sabotage and derail the inquiry". NCPCR further informs that it took suo motu cognizance of media reports, specifically one in Indian Express dated 06.07.2018 according to which a Sister from Missionaries of Charity was arrested for alleged illegal child trade. In light of other media reports about irregularities in the charity homes run by the organisation set up by Mother Teresa , the Commission informs that it wrote to the state authorities, recommended they initiate inquiry, but their responses regarding inquiry and findings thereof were unsatisfactory. NCPCR also claims that they wrote to various other states seeking information regarding the work of Missionaries of Charity, but responses remained unsatisfactory.
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