Raising concerns about welfare of children whose parents are arrested and sent to jail, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to file within two weeks an affidavit on steps taken to protect as well as provide such kids a safe environment.
“Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 a clear separation has been provided for between children who are in need of care and protection and those children who are in conflict with law. Children who do not have anyone to take care of them have to be sent to a shelter home with proper and basic facilities and infrastructure,” the court said.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni directed Maharashtra government to file an affidavit stating what steps it has taken towards implementation of suggestions made by an NGO regarding a policy for such children.
The court had taken suo motu cognisance of the issue after a Supreme Court order in December 2014 which directed all high courts in 24 states in the country to examine the ‘rights of prisoners especially women and children with them’.
NGO Prayas has been assisting the high court in the suo motu case of 2014 over a report filed by the organisation. It pointed out the need for better facilities, protection and welfare of the children of women prisoners.
“Prayas, which is in fact a project of TISS, has given detailed suggestions on how to combat the issue. The state government is obligated to look into the suggestions and take appropriate steps. We are concerned about the welfare of such children,” Chief Justice Chellur said.
The bench directed the government to secure information regarding such children and file an affidavit in two weeks explaining what steps it proposed to take.