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Supreme Court stresses on rehabilitation of homeless children

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The Supreme Court on Monday stressed on the rehabilitation of homeless children living on the footpath, stating that even though the administration was busy tackling with the third wave of coronavirus, the needs of these children cannot wait.

A Bench, headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, said the matter should be taken up seriously and the earlier orders of the Court should be implemented.

Additional Solicitor General K.M. Natraj told the court that the details of the children were not being put on the Bal Swaraj Portal by the states for resettlement.

He said in the matter of putting the details of children on NCPCR and Bal Swaraj portal, no details were entered by the Maharashtra government, whereas West Bengal has done a good job in the same.

Justice Rao suggested the states to set up Juvenile Justice Police Units, taking the help of traffic police officers, as they were proficient in taking care of begging and related matters.

Apart from this, the Court told the states to take the help of voluntary organizations for this.

The Bench further said that it was the responsibility of the state government to take policy decisions on the issue. Nevertheless, before sharing the information on respective state web portals, it should also be considered in the meeting of NCPCR.

The Supreme Court directed the DMs of all states to take the help of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and voluntary organizations to identify the children living on footpaths without any delay. Along with this, instructions were also given to put information on Bal Swaraj Portal at all stages.

Apart from this, the court said that NCPCR will prepare a rehabilitation policy for these children in consultation with the respective state governments.

The Apex Court said that the states and Union Territories will file a status report on this matter in three weeks.

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