Check issue of mentally unstable children in shelters not having names: HC to Maha govt

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade Justice Revati Mohite-Dere were hearing a suo motu petition on the sexual exploitation of the mentally challenged inmates at Mankhurd orphanage.

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | Published:January 7, 2016 3:39 am

The Bombay High Court Wednesday was informed of specific instances of mentally unstable children in state-run orphanages not knowing their names. The Coordination Committee for Child Protection (SCCCP) brought the issues of these children who “do not have names” to the High Court. The HC has now asked the state government to look into this issue.

The committee pointed that this issue came in the way of getting a mainstream identity like Aaadhar Card and other government support. According to the committee members, such children do not know their full names and have “not known” written as their surnames.

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade Justice Revati Mohite-Dere were hearing a suo motu petition on the sexual exploitation of the mentally challenged inmates at Mankhurd orphanage.

Dr Asha Bajpai, who was was appointed the head of the High Court-appointed Coordination Committee for Child Protection (SCCCP), and is also heading a model project called ‘Chunauti’ is the amicus curie in the matter, Bajpai told the court while submitting her report, “We have observed that many of these children do not have names. This should not be the case.” The children do not remember their names and they are provided with a badge number in most such cases.

“This also comes in the way of providing health insurances to such children despite the court’s orders to ensure health insurance cover for such children,” she added. Speaking on the other issues mentioned in the report, Bajpai said that except in one home where “structured education” was provided, in other homes the children were provided with toys and were made to draw or paint in the names of formal education. “Besides this, there was also lack of infrastructure provided in terms of equipment like wheelchairs,” said Bajpai.

The court has questioned the age of such children and were informed that they were mostly under 18 and were all mentally unstable.

The HC asked the state government to go through the report submitted so that it can pass further orders.

The committee visited two homes in Ahmednagar district, one in Solapur and one in Jalna. Presently, there are 19 such homes across the state which houses over 1,000 such children.

The committee had written a letter to seven departments of the government over compliance of court’s orders pertaining to these children’ homes after the government had claimed substantial compliance with earlier orders.

Amongst other things, the HC had earlier asked that equipment be provided in such homes besides additional new training programmes, which could be incorporated keeping in mind the changing times. The court had also asked the government to inform them what had happened with regard to providing compensation to the children who were victims of sexual assault.

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