The identification of children who have lost both or one parent after March 2020 cannot afford any further delay, the Supreme Court has directed the States and Union Territories to take assistance from several agencies at the grass-root level for completing the process.
Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose directed the District Magistrates to issue necessary instructions to the Child welfare & protection Officers to take the assistance of the Police, DCPU, Civil Society Organisations, Gram panchayats, Anganwadi, and Asha networks for the identification of orphans.
The Bench has clearly stated that this will be in addition to the mechanism available in the Juvenile Justice Act and the rules, and the District Magistrates are directed to continue uploading information as and when received on National Commission for Protection of Child Right’s (NCPCR) Bal Swaraj Portal.
All States and Union Territories are required to give the number of children who have become orphans or lost one parent, the number of children produced before children welfare committees, and children who have been provided with benefits of schemes announced by the States.
The amicus curiae, Gaurav Agarwal submitted that there is an urgent need to locate the children who have become orphans after March 2020 and the steps taken for their welfare and also the education of these orphans.
Gaurav Agarwal also recommended the involvement of agencies at the grass-root level, to report orphan children to CWC with immediate effect.
Mr. Nataraj appearing for the National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights stated that “The number of orphans in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and West Bengal seems to be unrealistic. The information that has been uploaded on the portal by nearly all States is patchy as there is registration of 75320 children on the portal but information till stage 5 is only for 1126 children.”