Taking strong exception to a shelter home for girl children run by a non-government organisation denying accommodation to a girl on the ground of overcrowding, a Child Welfare Committee here has directed various government agencies to ascertain the occupancy rates of various shelter homes and apprise it of efforts to set up new shelter homes for girl children.

The order, passed by Lajpat Nagar Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson Raj Mangal Prasad and member P. C. Chaturvedi, has also reprimanded the authorities of the Prayas Home for Girls, Tughlaqabad, stating that “in case the institution found it difficult to accommodate the child in view of overcrowding, the matter could be discussed the following day with the committee but shelter should have been provided for the night which was quite possible”.

The child was sent to the shelter home on June 18 by the order of the CWC. The social worker who accompanied the child told the committee that she contacted NGO’s head Amod Kanth over telephone but he told her that the management had decided to refuse shelter because of overcrowding.

The CWC said that Rule 25(h) of the Delhi Juvenile Justice Rules, 2000, allowed the Committee to direct the officer-in-charge of children homes/shelter homes/drop-in-centres to receive children requiring shelter and care and that Rule 86(1)(b) also made it clear that the officer in-charge of the institution “will comply” with the orders of the committee.

“We all are aware of the space crunch for girl children in all the institutions and it is unfortunate that we are finding it difficult to provide shelter to girl children even in the Capital of the country. It is the duty of the government to arrange accommodation whether run by its own or by NGOs, which are licensed. Despite several reminders, nothing concrete has been done by the Department of Women and Child Development [DWCD] in this regard. This issue needs to be addressed by the Child Protection Unit [CPU] of the State government on priority. The CWC should be informed within a week as to where the girl children should be sent for shelter, care and protection,” the order said.

After Prayas denied the child admission, she was taken in the late hours of the night on June 18 to Courage and Healing Home, Neb Sarai. On this, the CWC said: “Officer-in-charge of Prayas needs to explain as to why the child was denied shelter, causing harassment and unnecessary inconvenience to the child and the worker. The explanation as to why the child was denied shelter on that night as per CWC order be submitted by the In-charge, Prayas, on or before June 29.”

The Committee also directed that a copy of the order be also sent to Child Protection Unit Deputy Director, DWCD, to ascertain the vacancy position in institutions where girl children could be sent for shelter, care and protection.

“The committee should also be informed about efforts to start new homes for girl children in Delhi by Government or by an NGO. A copy of order should also be sent to Joint Director [Licensing] informing her about non-compliance of Juvenile Justice Act provisions by the institutions.”

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