In the words of Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi: “It is a shame that India has the highest number of child labourers in the world.”
The Delhi High Court has issued the orders to the Delhi Chief Secretary to call a meeting of all the stakeholders on an immediate basis so as to make sure that all the officials and official agencies who are involved in rehabilitation of rescued child labourers know their roles, “appalled” at the way child welfare committees dealt with a case. The directions were prescribed when a mother of a 12-year-old boy, who was rescued while working at a welding garage and sent to an NGO’s children’s shelter home filed a habeas corpus plea.
On submission of two writ petitions on the subject, the bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice P S Teji asked the Delhi government to take such an initiative so as to deal with the issue of rehabilitation by providing some kind of economic help. Court was of the view that such norms should be ruled out so that the parents or guardians do not force children to work as labourers again.
The Court further directed that proper orientation programmes should be conducted in various districts for all the chairpersons of Child Welfare Committees and simultaneously all the rules prescribed for child labour, rescued children and child welfare should be published in the form of a booklet so as to make every department and the officer concerned aware about their duties and functions and to overcome the negligence on their part.
While issuing the slew of directions, the Court said, “Rehabilitation of children must be an integral part of the law itself and children who are free from labour should be entitled to rehabilitation programmes by the government.”
The bench was found quoting, “If the Capital of the country, endowed with better infrastructure, fails to take effective steps in its drive to rescue the children and doesn’t succeed in properly rehabilitating them…then we fail to fathom what would be the providence or fate of other States or districts where infrastructure facilities and manpower are scant.”
The women knocked the doors of High Court when child welfare committee failed to give explanation for delay in the rescue of two children in the Capital. When the government agencies delayed hearing for her plea to take her son back and nor allowed her to meet her child.
Moreover the statements given by the chairpersons of the two CWC’s came as an utter shock when in the court on cross examination they said that they both are completely ignorant of the action plans and standard operating procedures that have been laid down by the department of women and child development.
Moreover the chairpersons of the two CWCs are solely responsible for implementing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act and Rules and they have been given the power and full authority to take steps for the welfare of children who are in need of protection.