Puducherry

HC comes down hard on govt. officials for failing to prevent crimes against children

The Madras High Court on Thursday expressed strong displeasure over government officials having failed to keep a check over orphanages and child care homes in the State to prevent serious crimes, including trafficking and kidnapping of children

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha summoned the Social Welfare Secretary, Social Defence Secretary and Additional Director General of Police (crimes against women and children) on January 21 next year to explain the reasons for not having taken stern action on the issue.

The judges also criticised the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for not having cracked since 2017, a case related to the kidnapping of a two-year-old boy from Cheyyar in Tiruvannamalai district on February 27, 2016. In their interim order, the judges observed that the premier investigating agency could not afford to probe every other case at the pace with which it investigates economic offences.

The Bench impressed upon the need to follow scientific methods of investigation to solve criminal cases. The observation was made after it was represented on behalf of the CBI that it had pinned down five suspects and that they had been subjected to lie detector and brain mapping tests. They had to undergo narco analysis test too but the process got delayed due to COVID-19, the court was told.

Pointing out that the pandemic broke out only early this year, the judges said that another Division Bench of Justices S. Nagamuthu (since retired) and V. Bharathidasan had ordered a CBI probe in the kidnapping case on April 11, 2017. The Bench led by Justice Sathyanarayanan said the CBI must show some sensitivity and start taking serious efforts to solve the case at the earliest.

The interim orders were passed on a batch of cases, including a habeas corpus petition filed by the mother of the kidnapped child, pending in the court since 2016. The judges recorded the submission of amicus curiae T. Mohan that the Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child Rights neither had a chairperson nor members since long. They also expressed concern over many government and private orphanages and child care homes being run without registration.

"The officials have developed a habit of going into deep slumber and they never want to be woken up. It also appears that most of the officials are not even aware of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act," the senior judge in the Bench said. He added that the officers had been filing periodical status reports only to satisfy the court but no worthwhile action had been taken to put a robust mechanism in place to prevent crimes against children.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 4:51:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/hc-comes-down-hard-on-govt-officials-for-failing-to-prevent-crimes-against-children/article33137495.ece

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