The State government has decided to take over the Aluva-based Janaseva Sishu Bhavan (JSSB) along with its inmates, citing gross violations of the Juvenile Justice Act.
In an order dated May 19, 2018, the government has entrusted the Ernakulam District Collector with the protection of its inmates. The order, issued by Biju Prabhakar, special secretary of Social Justice Department, says the Women and Child Development Department has so far not given registration to the JSSB owing to the violations pointed out by the CWC. Since the institution does not have registration, they have been housing children illegally which is punishable under Juvenile Justice Act, it said
“… the government in exercise of powers conferred under Section 41 (7) of the JJ Act, 2015 hereby orders to take over the institution along with all the buildings and appurtenances, housing all the inmates and place them under the supervision of District Collector, Ernakulam, for a period of three months or till they are reunited with their family or moved to a fit institution whoever is easier,” the order stated.
The District Collector will make necessary arrangements for education, clothes, food, etc., and post necessary staff to look after the children. A bi-weekly report on the repatriation and welfare of the children should be submitted by the CWC or DCPO Ernakulam to the government and Collector, Ernakulam, it added.
The CWC had earlier identified violations in the functioning of the orphanage underf Sections 39 (1), 39 (3), 40 (1), 40 (2), 40 (3) and 95 (1) under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act (Care and protection of Children) 2015. Following this, it issued orders on May 15, 2017 for rehabilitation and repatriation of 104 children from other States.
But the orphanage general secretary approached the High Court requesting to quash the order of he CWC. The court, however, dismissed the writ petition and asked him to approach the Additional Sessions Court in Ernakulam, which also dismissed the appeal.
While the CWC, during its inspection on March 19, 2017, found 104 inmates, the district child protection officer (DCPU), in a separate inspection about a year later, could spot only 42 of them. Four among these missing kids were later found begging in Thrissur on May 10.
Similarly, the CWC also found that the orphanage published the photographs of its inmates for the purpose of fund collection and even took them to the streets to protest against the orders of the sessions court for repatriation by disguising it as the orders of the CWC
In the inspection carried out by the DCPU on April 21, the Sishu Bhavan officials told them that 62 children were sent back to their families, which suggested that the institution had been housing the children who have family and parents to look after them. The orphanage is also accused of failing to furnish reliable information regarding the number of children lodged there as well as the whereabouts of their families. Meanwhile, the premises of the JSSB here on Sunday witnessed dramatic scenes as the orphanage authority and its inmates staged a protest against the government move. Following the protest, the proceedings to take over the orphanage were suspended.