The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government to provide vocational training in various courses to juveniles of children remand homes so that their minds were occupied and they learn to be independent.
The suggestion was given by a bench of Justices V M Kanade and Reveti Mohite-Dere which said that instead of providing books, the inmates of remand homes should be shown cartoon films on television.
“Now-a-days, the children are interested in watching television rather than reading books,” said the Judges who did not seem to approve government’s argument of providing a library in such remand homes.
The court was hearing a petition by taking suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the dilapidated condition of the Children’s Observation Home at Umerkhadi in Dongri, South Mumbai.
Looking at photographs of the Umerkhadi Observation Home, the Judges said the toilets and bathrooms appear to be clean.
They also expressed satisfaction that after the court orders good food was being provided to children by the new caterer.
The HC also noted that the number of children had come down to 200 from 400 by shifting inmates to other such institutions and that computer and carpentry training was being imparted to the children.
Government pleader Anjali Helekar informed that the government would construct a new building at Umerkhadi and until such structure comes up it would build a pre-fabricated building in six months.
The High Court then asked the state to file an affidavit within four weeks on what it proposed to do about the building of children’s home at Umerkhadi.
Justice Kanade said the HC was independently getting reports from the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) about the observation homes built by the state and the condition of the buildings.
The High Court also directed the CMM to file a report in four weeks about the same.
The court had earlier directed the government to shift the children from Umerkhadi building and asked it to reconstruct the home at the earliest.
Some 339 children, including 250 boys and 84 girls, were directed to be shifted to alternative accommodation. The girls were shifted to nearby Asha Sadan while the boys to the Matunga home.