KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the state government to ensure the women’s wall scheduled for New Year Day does not include children aged below 18. The court also directed the government to file an affidavit, detailing the total expenditure incurred for the event and the campaign as well as the budgetary allocations from other departments, at a later date.
“Exclude children under the age of 18 from taking part in the women’s wall. It is the obligation of the government to protect the rights of the children recognised by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said the Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar.
According to the judges, the government cannot compel or even encourage participation of children in the programme irrespective of permission from parents and teachers. The HC order came on pleas against using money from the exchequer to fund the wall. Counsel for the government K V Sohan submitted participation of children is essential for an event which has social and cultural importance.
Countering this, counsel for petitioner Girija Gopal contended children should not be forced to participate in the women’s wall and school property and buses should not be used other than for educational purposes. Deploying children for such events amounts to the violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, the petitioner submitted.
n Allegations of fund diversion from other government projects are baseless. There is absolutely no wastage of resources or manpower. It was part of the campaign envisaged in the government’s policy decision, details of which were spelt out in the Governor’s Address and budget speech.
n No state government employee will be compelled to participate in the women’s wall announced by the LDF Government and those who stay away will not have proceeded against women's wall.