NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked all states and union territories to provide to the Centre the complete details of orphanages, including the number of children living in child care institutions, within three weeks.
A bench, comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta, said this after it was informed that 19 states and four Union Territories (UTs) have not yet furnished complete details to the Centre as per the top court directions.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, who was appearing for the Centre, to send a reminder to all the states and UTs so that they furnish these details within three weeks.
"You look at this chart (given by amicus curiae) statewise and examine what is the missing information. It would be appropriate if you tell us what are the defects," the bench told the ASG.
The bench, which posted the matter for hearing after four weeks, made it clear that it would summon the chief secretaries of the states if they do not furnish these details to the Centre.
Advocate Aparna Bhat, who has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court, told the bench that though the Centre has "vigorously followed up" this matter with the states and UTs, most of them have not provided the requisite details.
Bhat placed before the bench a state-wise chart of the details which were not provided yet by the states and UTs.
She also pointed out certain other issues, including the utilisation of funds under the integrated child protection scheme, on which several states and UTs have not provided necessary information to the Centre.
"19 states and four union territories have not given complete information. We cannot compare the details if we do not have the number of children," the amicus said, adding that the court should make it time-bound so that the states and UTs comply with the directions.
The Centre told the court that they have written letters to the states and UTs on the issue but complete information have not been provided yet.
The bench asked the Centre to talk to states and UTs on the issue.
The court was hearing a PIL filed on the basis of a 2007 newspaper report which had alleged that orphanages in Tamil Nadu's Mahabalipuram, which were run by the NGOs as well as government institutions, were reportedly involved in systematic sexual abuse of children.
The apex court had last year passed a slew of directions including setting up of a data base of children living in orphanages and child care institutions to ensure their safety and welfare.
It had directed the Centre, states and UTs to complete the registration of all child care institutions by the yearend and had said the registration process should also include a data base of all children who are in need of care and protection and update it every month.
The bench had directed the state governments and UTs to set up 'inspection committees' before July 31 last year to conduct regular inspections of child care institutions and prepare reports of such inspections so that the living conditions of kids there undergo positive changes.
The court had also directed that all vacancies in State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) be filled across the country by the end of 2017.