The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that states and union territories have started giving their plans on proper utilisation of funds allotted to them under a scheme meant for welfare of children living in orphanages and child care institutions. The government told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that the Centre has communicated with the states and UTs about utilisation of funds allotted to them and the project approval board (PAB) would hold a meeting this month to discuss on the issue.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said this after the bench asked whether the states and UTs have drawn up a plan on utilisation of funds given by the Central government under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) .
“Communications were sent to the states and UTs to submit their plans. Plans have started to come. Union of India will have a meeting this month to discuss and approve the plans,” Singh told the bench.
Meanwhile, an advocate, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, told the court that around 2.61 lakh children were residing in 8,500 children homes across the country but the funds allotted every year for their betterment was not reaching the beneficiaries.
The lawyer argued that the Centre, along with National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and respective State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs), should look into these issue.
The amicus said that as per the apex court’s verdict of May 5 last year, the Centre has complied with the direction to register all child care institutions across the country.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing in July. The top court was hearing a PIL filed on the basis of a 2007 newspaper report alleging that orphanages in Tamil Nadu’s Mahabalipuram, which were run by NGOs and government institutions, were reportedly involved in systematic sexual abuse of children.
The court had last year passed a slew of directions including setting up of a database of children living in orphanages and child care institutions to ensure their safety and welfare.
It had directed the Centre, states and UTs to complete the registration of all child care institutions by the year-end and said the registration process should include a database of all children who are in need of care and protection and update it every month. The court had also directed that all vacancies in SCPCRs be filled across the country by the end of 2017.