April 8, 2021 12:49:23 am
The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to explain the procedure followed in recommending action, including prosecution, against two children’s homes linked to activist Harsh Mander. Ummed Aman Ghar for Boys and Khushi Rainbow Home For Girls, run by Centre for Equity Studies (CES) where Mander is a Director, have sought quashing of the inspection reports of NCPCR.
“The NCPRC would place on record an affidavit stating the procedure followed by it while conducting an inquiry under Section 13, 14 and while giving a recommendation under Section 15 of the (Commission for Protection of Child Rights, 2005) Act,” said the court, adding that any action taken by the authorities will remain subject to the outcome of the two petitions.
The court also asked the Delhi government to place on record the outcome of the proceedings initiated by it against the management of the children’s homes in pursuance of the NCPCR recommendation. It was earlier told that a show cause notice was issued to them by Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan and a reply has already been filed to it. An order is likely to be passed in four weeks, a government counsel told the court.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the two homes before the bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, argued that
none of the material including the complaints received were put to them, and prior to recommendation being given by NCPCR, they ought to have been heard. Sibal also told the court that an FIR has also been registered by Delhi Police following recommendation of the NCPCR.
“They (NCPCR) conducted this inquiry behind my back. They sought information from me which I gave to them but they never put an inquiry report to me,” Sibal submitted, while contending that NCPRC could not have come to a finding without seeking a response.
“You cannot, at the conclusion of an ex-parte domestic inquiry, launch a prosecution against me without ever disclosing to me what is against me,” said Sibal, adding that the reports have adverse findings against the management of the two children’s homes.
In October 2020, NCPCR raided the children’s homes and, according to Mander, allegedly sought to know whether the children had participated in the anti-CAA protests; regarding his association with them; about any foreign funding; and whether shelter was given to Rohingya children at the two places.
In a report in January 2021, the NCPCR said that during the inspections, it observed many violations of the Juvenile Justice Act and other various irregularities at the two homes including instances of child sexual abuse at the home for boys. The allegations were denied by CES, which described it as an attempt to malign its reputation and of its Director, Mander.
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