New Delhi : The Supreme Court has directed all the states to concentrate on several schemes, including skill development and vocational training, to help rehabilitate children in need of care and protection and for their social reintegration.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta held that the definition given under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, of children in need of care and protection should not be treated as an exhaustive one.
“It must be appreciated that the 2015 Act is a medium for the state to honour the Directive Principles of State Policy, particularly under Article 39(f) of the Constitution, by giving opportunities to children to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity,” the bench said.
“It is imperative that the Union government and the governments of the states and Union Territories must concentrate on rehabilitation and social re-integration of children in need of care and protection,” the bench said.
The court also directed the central and state governments to ensure that the process of registration of all child care institutions is completed by December 31, 2017, with the entire data being confirmed and validated.
Passing a slew of directions on a petition started in 2007 on the basis of a newspaper article on abuses of children in orphanages, the court directed the Centre and states to draw up plans for full and proper utilisation of grants, along with expenditure statements, being provided under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
“Returning the grants as unspent or casual utilisation of the grants will not ensure anybody’s benefit and is effectively wasteful expenditure,” the bench said. The court noted that in 2013-14, as much as
Rs 6,498.27 lakh given to states under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme remained unspent.
The court also said it is imperative that the process of conducting a social audit must be taken up in right earnestness by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as well as by each State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. It directed the states where there was no such commission to establish it by the year end.
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