NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over trafficking of children from orphanages in West Bengal, the Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to all states and Union Territories on a petition filed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) accusing the West Bengal government of gross violation of rights of orphaned children.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra sought replies in two weeks. “Right of a child in a society is absolutely sacred, for the future of the country depends upon character and destiny of a child. State has a great role in securing such destiny and character,” the CJI observed. “Nothing is more disastrous than children being sold and hence a comprehensive view is the entire issue was warranted. A child cannot be bartered away at the whims and fancies of the person incharge of the orphanage. This constitutes a violation of human rights.”
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for NCPCR, informed the bench that no state has established the human rights court as mandated under the act of 1993. The bench then asked states to file their response on the requirement of the specification of one Sessions Court in each district as the Human Rights Court for speedy trial of offences arising out of violation of human rights and appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor for it.
The court was hearing a petition by NCPCR, which was aggrieved over an order by Calcutta High Court over the trafficking of 17 children from an orphanage in Jalpaiguri. NCPCR alleged that the West Bengal government had illegally formed ad-hoc committees and given away orphans for adoption in gross violation of law and rules. The state government questioned the jurisdiction of the apex child rights body.
The bench will hear the case on January 22.