SC directs states, UTs to link COVID-orphaned children, their family members to welfare schemes  

Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed that the testimonies of children, who are victims of child trafficking, be recorded through video conference
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)

The states and union territories have been directed by the Supreme Court to link children who were orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their family members to the various welfare schemes available. This happened on Monday, April 4. 

It was noted by a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had addressed 19,825 letters to the various district authorities. Via the letters, NCPCR made several recommendations for linking a child and his/her family to the various schemes. In return, it has received only 920 action taken reports, as stated in a report by PTI. 

Apart from taking note of the report filed by NCPCR, the top court directed states and union territories to submit status reports in two weeks' time. 

The authorities have also been directed to take steps to ascertain the properties that belong to the deceased parents of the children who are in street situations and the same needs to be uploaded on the Bal Swaraj Portal. The District Magistrates (DMs) have been asked to protect such properties. 

"District child protection officers and DMs are directed to take the assistance of legal services authorities in this regard so that children are not deprived of their properties," the bench said, as quoted in a report by PTI.

When it comes to education, the top court made it clear that the relief that has been granted to the children orphaned will continue and the DMs will need to ensure their continuous education. 

As many as 10,793 children have lost both parents and 1,51,322 children have lost at least one parent to the pandemic, as per reports. With respect to many such children, social investigation reports are yet to be finalised.  

The states and union territories have been directed by the court to take steps to ensure that the process of preparation and completion of social investigation reports is done. 

It had taken suo motu cognisance with regard to children in street situations and who have lost their parents to COVID-19.

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