The Desk

COVID Coverage: Children in Protection Homes, April 4th 2022

On April 4th, SC directed State governments and Union Territories to comply with the Supreme Court’s earlier Orders on child welfare.

On April 4th, Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai directed State governments and Union Territories to comply with the Supreme Court’s earlier Orders concerning the welfare of children affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

In an earlier suo moto case, the Court addressed the concerns of children in protection homes during the pandemic. Over time, the Court directed its attention to children who were yet to be rehabilitated from the streets to protection homes.

Mr. Gaurav Agrawal, the amicus in this case, drew the attention of the Court to the status of children who had lost one or more parents during the pandemic. He stressed that these children were unable to avail of the benefits of welfare schemes. 

The Court stated that State governments and Union Territories must identify those children who had lost one or more parents during the pandemic. The details of these children must be uploaded to the Bal Swaraj portal—an online portal created by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to track children in need of care and protection . Authorities must make every effort to reach out to these children and prepare social investigation reports for each of the children identified by the government. Further,  the education of these children must not be discontinued. The Bench directed States and Union Territories to submit the educational statuses of these children to the Court.

The Court ordered the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to take note of the assets and liabilities of children who had lost their parents. The District Magistrates, along with the District Child Protection Officers, must take the assistance of the District Legal Services Authority to ensure that children are not deprived of their property. The steps taken by these bodies and the childrens’ financial and educational statuses must be uploaded to the Bal Swaraj Portal.

The case will be heard in two weeks.

To read more of SCO’s incisive journalism on children in protection homes during COVID-19, click here.