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There is a need for continuous monitoring of the implementation of the schemes in favour of the affected children: Supreme Court

The Court permitted the learned Amicus Curiae to have a dialogue with Nodal Officers to be appointed by the State Governments to ascertain the information relating to the implementation of the schemes announced by the Union of India and the State Governments/Union Territories favouring orphans and Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCPs). A division bench of JUSTICE L. NAGESWARA RAO and JUSTICE ANIRUDDHA BOSE; while adjudicating the matter in Re Supreme Court case, SMW (C) NO.4 OF 2020; dealt with providing protection to orphans.

In a scheme that dealt with providing orphans and children in need of care and protection, a certain amount of relief, the learned ASG, Ms. Aishwarya Bhati stated that the scheme was announced by the Prime Minister of India on 29.05.2021. On behalf of the Union of India, an Action Taken Report has been filed. The learned ASG sought further time to furnish the modalities for the implementation of the scheme announced by the Prime Minister of India on 29.05.2021. The Union of India is granted four weeks’ time from today to file an affidavit setting out the details of the scheme dated 29.05.2021 and the manner of its implementation.

Mr. Gaurav Agrawal, learned Amicus Curiae submitted a note in which he has referred to six stages for alleviation of the forlorn children who have lost both parents or a single parent. He suggested that identification of children who have become orphans or have lost one of their parents during this pandemic does not brook any delay. Immediate relief should follow the identification of such children without any delay. Thereafter, the Child Welfare Committees (CWC) should conduct inquiries and pass suitable orders expeditiously which have to be implemented without any delay. Monitoring of children by CWC and the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) should be conducted on a periodical basis. Suitable steps should be taken by CWC’s to ensure that the benefits announced by the Central Government/State Governments should reach the children.

The learned Amicus Curiae has brought to our notice that according to the response on behalf of the District Child Protection Officers (DCPO) and other officials from the States of Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand almost all the children who have become orphans or lost one parent need financial assistance. The learned Amicus Curiae has suggested that the DCPO should meet the child and the guardian immediately after receipt of information and ascertain the willingness of the guardian to take care of the child apart from making an assessment of the immediate needs of the child and the financial condition of the guardian.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts stated that; “There should be continuous monitoring regarding the welfare of the child by the District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) even after the financial order is passed by the CWC. This should be done periodically every three to six months. After the identification of the children who have become orphans or lost one parent, prompt action has to be taken to provide the basic needs of the children. The DCPO should act swiftly to contact the child on receipt of information about the loss of the parent/parents of the child. The DCPUs shall ensure that adequate provision is made for the ration, food, medicines, clothing etc. to the child. The State Governments have announced certain financial benefits to the affected children which have to be provided to them immediately. The DCPO should produce the child before CWC if he is not prima facie satisfied that the guardian is capable of taking care of the child.”

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