Rashid Paul

Fix timeline for providing facilities at child-care homes: HC directs SWD

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Srinagar, Oct 01: The High Court has directed the Social Welfare Department (SWD) to fix a time-line for provision of required facilities at all the child-care institutes (CCIs) in the state.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe after perusal of a report by SWD, directed the authorities to submit a timeline for stocking up all the facilities in these institutes to ensure a happy childhood to the under-dogged children lodged in them.

The department has candidly conceded that the CCIs were lacking basic facilities and that the situation was not as desired.

The bench expressed its surprise over denial of extracurricular activities to children housed in the CCIs and squarely blamed the Youth Services and Sports (YSS) department for it.

The representing counsel in the matter informed the court that a communication has been addressed to Commissioner Secretary of the department to provide an estimated amount of Rs 31.50 lakhs for provision of sports facilities to all the CCIs.

The court directed the Commissioner YSS to address the issue within a week and take appropriate measures in this regard, failing which he shall remain present in the court on next date of hearing of the case.

The court also directed the authorities to ensure that proper medical care, food, education, transportation, teaching aid and reading material is made available to all the children in the CCIs.

It also directed the state counsel to inform the court about the recommendations submitted Ms Bharti Ali of the Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi.

Ali has suggested a list of facilities and programmes as are required to be provided to children in the Child Care Homes, whether in conflict with law or those in need of care and protection.

The amicus curie in the case, advocate B A Bashir after visiting some CCIs, has already apprised the court about their “deplorable condition”.

There are 17 child-care institutions in Kashmir province, of which 11 are for boys and six for girls.

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