Not for closing Arya Orphanage: Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it was not in favour of the closure of Arya Orphanage,which has been mired in controversies over allegations of sexual assaults on children.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2012 3:54:16 am

Underlining that a remedy could not be worse than the disease itself,the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that it was not in favour of the closure of Arya Orphanage,which has been mired in controversies over allegations of sexual assaults on children.

The court,instead,asked for putting in place a comprehensive remedial mechanism to ensure the welfare of the children.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri noted that the concern of the court was to guarantee that children in the orphanage were safe and secure.

The court asked all parties — the Central and Delhi governments,the NGO as well as the management of the institution — to have an in-chamber meeting with the bench on Thursday to find a solution.

“There should be a mechanism which addresses everybody’s concerns. It should not interfere with the autonomy of the management of the orphanage and,at the same time,also ensure that the children are completely safe,” said the bench.

Earlier,Senior Advocate V P Choudhary,who appeared on behalf of the orphanage president,told the court that they were open to any investigation. The counsel said they had allowed access to the counsellors and other officers as asked by the Delhi government-appointed administrator.

“We are getting the medical examination conducted; have allowed the counsellors to interact with the children; have been providing access to the police; have installed CCTV cameras at all necessary places and are also open to an independent inquiry by a retired judge. We have been providing all possible cooperation even as our reputation is being tarnished,” Choudhary said.

Describing the allegations as “stray incidents,” he said that not only were these reports yet to be proved,the children currently staying in the orphanage had to undergo anxious moments every day,with visitors telling them that the orphanage would be shut very soon.

Justice Sikri said: “Nobody has asked you to close the institution. Remedy cannot be worse than the disease itself. We also understand that stray incidents need to be checked. Welfare of the children should be the only concern. Moreover,developing this fear psychosis is certainly not good for the children when they their exams are near.”

Following allegations of sexual abuse of children at the orphanage in Old Delhi,the court had last week taken suo motu cognisance of the issue. Seeking responses from the Centre,Delhi government,as well as management of the institution,the court asked the orphanage to “seriously” look into the allegations.

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