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Concerned at functioning of childcare homes in Bihar, Patna High Court orders monthly inspections

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By Alok Mohit

Patna, May 27: The Patna High Court has expressed concern over the functioning of childcare homes in Bihar and ordered thorough monthly inspections of such facilities in the state.

A division bench of chief justice K Vinod Chandran and justice Harish Kumar passed the order while hearing writ petitions alleging abuse of inmates. The court said, “the allegations raised in the writ petitions and the instances of abuse of children pointed out, according to us, has been occasioned because of no proper supervision.” The court emphasised the need for proper supervision to prevent future instances of abuse.

It directed district & sessions judges and district magistrates to conduct monthly inspections of all observation homes and places of safety, which house children in conflict with the law.

The order also mandated the formation of district-level committees to oversee childcare homes. It said these committees would be chaired by the district judge and include members from the district administration, police department, medical field, child protection unit, and the district legal services authority.

It said the committees would be required to inspect childcare homes monthly and submit reports to the Bihar State Legal Services Authority, which would then forward them to the Juvenile Justice Committee.

The order comes after the State Child Protection Unit informed the court that there were 90 operational child care institutions and one aftercare home in Bihar.

The court had on February 23 directed the state government’s counsel “to file an affidavit, specifically pointing out the number, name and location of the care home for protection of boys and girls, both minors and also those having attained majority, who are placed in safety homes. The details shall include government-run and NGO-run institutions. The aforesaid exercise must be completed within two weeks.”

In compliance of the order, government advocate Prashant Pratap told the court that childcare facilities catered to two main categories of children: One for children in need of care and protection (CNCP) and another for children in conflict with law (CCL).

Pratap said in the first category, there were 34 specialised adoption agencies in different districts and 22 children’s homes as well as,nine Vrind Ashray Grihs.

In the second category, there were 20 observation homes, four places of safety in different districts of Bihar and one special home in Patna, he added.

The court posted thee matter for further hearing on September 6.

(Author Alok Mohit is former senior News Editor of Hindustan Times Patna and Chandigarh editions; can be contacted at mohit.alok19@gmail.com)

 

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