March 24, 2023

Give relief to kids on streets without delay: SC to DMs | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday chided states and Union Territories (UTs) for not doing enough to identify and rehabilitate children who are forced to live on streets. The court reminded them that it is their duty to provide food and shelter to them.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BV Nagarathna directed the state and UT governments not to treat this issue as a “normal matter” and make extra effort to reach out to those children.
As per the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, there are over 10 lakh street children but the states have so far identified only 9,945 as per the data provided by them to NCPCR. Citing coldweather conditions, the SC bench directed district magistrates to involve NGOs, voluntary organisations and district legal services authorities to identify children on streets “without further delay”.
Referring to data collated by NCPCR on the basis of information provided by states, the bench said most states reported zero or gave single digit figures of street children in their states. “Children are starving on the streets and they can’t wait. The situation would not improve without intervention of governments. I’s their duty to perform,” the SC said.
Additional solicitor general KM Natraj and advocate Swarupama Chaturvedi, appearing for NCPCR, said many states were not serious about the issue despite the SC’s direction. They said 21states participated in the virtual meeting conducted by NCPCR. “NCPCR observed that some of them have initiated the process of rescue of these kids.
However, few states made efforts to rehabilitate them,” the Commision said.
The bench directed all states and UTs to participate in the meeting on identification and framing a rehabilitation policy for street children.
Times View: It is the duty and responsibility of any socially-aware society to take care of its street children who are vulnerable to various forms of exploitation. It is sad that this responsibility is not being carried out by the state governments and UTs. The apex court has rightly intervened. A rehabilitation policy, under the aegis of NCPCR, should be formulated at the earliest.

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