NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has permitted the Maharashtra government to submit a proposal to start 20 open shelters under the Child Protection Services (CPS) scheme for the 2022-2023 financial year to provide community-based facilities to Children in Street Situations (CiSS).
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said that in addition to the request for approval under the CPS scheme, the state of Maharashtra shall also make an application to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for approval for starting the open shelters.
The apex court also directed the Union of India to take a decision and grant its approval within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the application. "The State of Maharashtra is permitted to submit a proposal for starting 20 open shelters for the financial year 2022-2023 within a period of one week from today. Union of India shall take a decision and grant its approval within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the application," the bench, also comprising justices BR Gavai and AS Bopanna, said in its May 19 order.
The top court noted that according to the data provided by the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), about 5,000 CiSS have been identified in the state of Maharashtra and it intends to start open shelters to provide community-based facilities to CiSS in need of shelter, on short term basis.
The court had earlier directed all states and union territories to implement the SOP prepared by the NCPCR for care and protection of children in street situations. It had said the steps taken so far had not been satisfactory and rescuing children should not be a temporary exercise, and it should be ensured that they are rehabilitated.
The top court had earlier directed states and UTs to link the children orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their family members to various welfare schemes. It had taken suo motu cognisance concerning children in street situations who have lost their parents to COVID-19.