It directs the managements to rectify the deficiencies

The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday quashed an order passed by Tiruchi Collector Jayashree Muralidharan on February 4 to close down St.Anne’s Home for Children, run by the Congregation of the Sisters of St.Anne, at Melapudur from February 5.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by the coordinator of the home, Justice B. Rajendran said the Collector ought not to have ordered its closure without giving an opportunity to the management to rectify deficiencies pointed out by inspection teams which visited the home on January 31 and February 1.

The judge also directed the petitioner to set right the reported anomalies and submit a compliance report to the officials.

Distress call

In her order, the Collector had said some inmates of the home had called up the District Child Welfare Committee office and complained about lack of basic facilities. Hence, a team comprising District Child Welfare Officer and others inspected the home on January 31.

It found that the female inmates were not allowed to take bath daily and since there were no bathrooms on the campus, they were forced to take bath in the open. The home also did not have sufficient toilets.

The charges levelled against the registered home, included non-provision of nutritious meal to children despite claiming Rs.4,500 to Rs.5,500 annually from the State towards maintenance charge for each inmate.

A team comprising the District Social Welfare Officer and Tahsildar (Tiruchi West) ascertained the veracity of the charges during an inspection on February 1.

The Collector ordered its closure and shifting of the children studying Class IV to IX to some other home.

Those studying Class X to XII were permitted to continue in the same home, under the supervision of the Chief Educational Officer and District Child Welfare Officer, until their annual examinations were over.

The coordinator of the home, N. Livintha (57), said 534 poor students were in the home and pursuing their education in allied educational institutions. The home had five wardens, three cooks, an accountant and a sanitary worker, and facilities such as furniture, books and sports materials though the State pays only Rs.36 a month for the maintenance of each inmate.

She claimed that the action had been initiated against the home due to a spat between Perambalur District Social Welfare Officer Petchiammal, when she was in-charge of Tiruchi district, and one of its former wardens.

Inspection

Meanwhile, V.M.Xavier Chrisso Nayagam, Commissioner, Social Welfare, and Jayashree Muralidharan, Collector, inspected the St.Anne’s Home for Children in Tiruchi on Friday.