August 20, 2021 12:59:30 pm
In a major step towards ensuring clarity in the law to protect children, the Karnataka High Court has issued guidelines for Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) on how to conduct inquiry and counselling when parents or guardians want to surrender children on being unable to look after them for physical, emotional, and social factors beyond their control, as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
As per the guidelines issued by the court, CWCs should conduct proper identification of the parents of such children. The CWCs should ensure they meet the parents individually and collectively in a bid to ascertain facts related to the surrender. Further, the parents should be identified if they are biological parents to the child. While physical, emotional, and social factors that are beyond the parents’ control to take care of the children are important, a straightjacket formula cannot be used to determine the same as well.
Further, the guidelines mentioned that the parents should attend counselling from child psychologists in government medical institutions. The final decision on the surrender should be taken based on the outcome of counselling, the high court noted. It added that CWCs have been asked to confirm that the surrender is not intended to benefit adoption agencies as well.
The guidelines were issued after a division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda found that the state government had failed to frame the rules. Further, the court directed the government to frame the rules within three months till which the guidelines will be in force. The HC pronounced the guidelines as it passed an order on a PIL petition filed by Letzkit Foundation, Bengaluru.
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