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Supreme Court directs states, UTs to continue identifying children who have lost parents to COVID

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the governments of all states and Union Territories (UTs) to continue identifying children who have lost one or both parents to Covid-19. The Apex Court has further directed the states and UTs to file a status report regarding the same within 3 weeks, along with other measures taken by respective state and UT governments to reach out to such children.

The bench of Justices L.N. Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai was hearing case of suo motu cognizance taken by the Apex Court with regard to Children in Street Situations (CISS) and who have lost their parents to Covid- 19. According to the data uploaded on the Bal Bharti online portal, at least 10,793 children have lost both their parents, while 1,51,322 children have lost at least one parent.

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The Court also clarified that the relief granted to Children in street situations would continue and directed the District Magistrates to ensure no impediment is caused in the education of children who have been able to go to school pursuant to the Apex Court’s order.

Amicus Curiae Gaurav Agarwal informed the bench that 19,825 letters have written by NCPCR to state authorities, but only 920 action taken reports have been submitted by state authorities. He further submitted NCPCR had been receiving complaints children in street situations that their cases were not being heard.

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The Court further directed the state authorities to take steps to ascertain the properties belonging to deceased parents of children in street situations and upload the same at Bal Swaraj Portal, while also directing the concerned District Magistrate to protect such properties.

On the previous date of hearing, the Apex Court had directed state governments and UTs to assess the gaps pointed out by NCPCR for refining the process of identification and rehabilitation of Children in Street Situations, further directing them to file status reports about the same in two weeks.

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