SC directive to States, UTs on rehabilitation of children living on streets

Bench says States and UTs could follow NCPCR’s standard operating procedure until they devise their own

April 25, 2022 08:02 pm | Updated April 26, 2022 09:30 am IST - NEW DELHI

Photo used for representation purpose only. FIle

Photo used for representation purpose only. FIle | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the States and Union Territories (UTs) that have not yet framed their own policies to rehabilitate children in street situation (CISS) to immediately implement the Standard Operating Procedure for Care and Protection of Children in Street Situation 2.0 framed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for the time being.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said these States and UTs could follow the NCPCR’s standard operating procedure (SOP) until they devised their own. Children could not be made to suffer for the delay on the part of the States and UTs to form their rehabilitation policies, the court stated.

Once individuals schemes were formed, the court noted, they have to be forwarded to the NCPCR.

Be vigilant, States told

It expressed its dismay at the “paltry” number of children identified living on the streets. Those identified run into only thousands when there were lakhs of them out there. “In fact, we were told last time that there were about 1.5 million children. Only 17,000 children were identified. Ask your officers to be a little vigilant,” the court addressed the State governments.

In February, the court asked the states to approach the NCPCR with suggestions for changing their rehabilitation policies in accordance with their respective ground realities while at the same time keeping in mind the spirit and larger intent of the NCPCR’s SOP to rescue children from the streets.

On Monday, the court was apprised by amicus curiae advocate Gaurav Agarwal that only Tamil Nadu and Delhi have come up with their own policies to rescue CISS. The court asked both the States to place their schemes before the NCPCR and implement their schemes to save children.

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