Chennai, Oct 18 (ILNS) The Madras High Court has recently directed the state authorities concerned to conduct periodical inspections of children’s homes to regulate living conditions.
A single-judge bench of Justice S.M. Subramaniam passed this order while hearing a petition filed by the Eternal Word Trust. The petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution praying for the issuance of a writ of certiorari calling for the proceedings of the fifth respondent/The Tehsildar, Ambattur Taluk, Ambattur, Thiruvallur District dated January 21, 2015, and quash the same.
The order dated January 21, 2015, passed by the fifth respondent is under challenge in the writ petition. The petitioner is a Public Charitable Trust, which came into existence on April 5, 1999, pursuant to the Deed of Declaration registered as a document.
The counsel for the petitioner-trust stated that the fifth respondent, along with other officials, threatened the petitioner-trust and directed them to close down the children’s home. The petitioner sent a complaint to the Chief Secretary regarding the high handedness shown by the fifth respondent.
However, in respect of such allegations, the Court cannot conduct an enquiry in the petition, as the same is filed challenging the proceedings of the fifth respondent dated January 21, 2015, which states that during the inspection, the authorities found that 24 male children and 25 female children were kept under the custody of the petitioner-Trust without obtaining proper permission.
In view of the fact that 5-1/2 years passed, to ascertain the present status, the Court directed the Competent Authority, namely, the District Child Protection Officer, Thiruvallur to conduct an inspection and file a status report.
Such an order is passed in view of the fact that the order states 24 male children and 25 female children were under the custody of the petitioner-Trust illegally. Pursuant to the orders of the Court, the District Child Protection Officer, Thiruvallur, filed the Status Report, dated October 8, 2021.
The counsel appearing for the impleaded respondent No.9/ Israel Jebaraj raised the allegation that some portion of the property belongs to the impleaded respondent No.9 and civil suits are also filed and they are pending.
The petitioner raises many allegations against the official respondent, namely, Tehsildar, Thiruvallur. The order states that the petitioner had illegal custody of 24 male children and 25 female children. As of now, as per the Status Report, no children are in the custody of the petitioner, the court noted.
The Court observed, “This being the factum, the petitioner cannot run any such children’s home without obtaining proper permission from the Competent Authorities in the manner known to law. As such, the order lost its relevance as no children are in the custody of the petitioner as of now as per the Status Report filed by the District Child Protection Officer, Thiruvallur and thus, no further consideration is required in the petition.”
The Competent Authorities are bound to conduct periodical inspections as it is their duty mandatory. Any lapses, negligence or dereliction of duty in this regard, are to be viewed seriously by the Higher Authorities.
Protection of Children is of paramount importance and the duty of the State enshrined under the Constitution of India. The interest of minor children under no circumstances be compromised by the State and the Authorities Competent, the court said.
“The jurisdictional respective District Child Protection Officers and other Authorities are directed to conduct a periodical inspection of such Homes, so as to ensure the living conditions, facilities provided and the administration of such Homes by the persons concerned and submit reports to the Higher Officials for the purpose of pursuing any actions if required under the law. It is made clear that in the event of failure on the part of the Competent Authorities in conducting periodical inspections, the Head of the Department and the Government shall initiate appropriate actions against all such officials,” it added.
“These sorts of complaints are frequently received by the High Court due to lack of periodical inspection. If the periodical inspection is conducted in a routine manner by the authorities concerned, such situations would never arise or at least would have been avoided. Thus, the seriousness involved regarding the interest of the minor children is to be considered by the Government and the Head of the Department and all appropriate actions are to be initiated,” the court said while disposing of the petition./ILNS/AP/SNG/