New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the rights of a child were "absolutely sacred" and a child cannot be bartered away at the whim and fancy or selfishness of the person-in-charge of orphanages.
Observing that the "Right of a child is absolutely sacred. Future of the country depends on the character and destiny of children ...", the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud said that it would take comprehensive view of the running of orphanages in the country.
" ... It is necessary to have a comprehensive view of the entire country pertaining to running of orphanages, the mode and method of adoption, the care given and the treatment meted out to the children," the court said, as it decided to entertain the plea by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) noting that "... the issue pertains to trafficking of children, which has a vital national concern and recognizes no boundary,..."
The court asked the NCPCR to make all the states parties in the matter and thereafter the top court registry would issue notice to them on the functioning of the orphanages.
Saying that the state has a "great role" in the protection of the child, the court said "when the children are sold, nothing can be more disastrous than this. This is a situation which cannot be allowed to prevail".
Noting that the human rights also encompasses the "dignity of an individual" and same also extends to children, the court said: "A child cannot be bartered away at the whim and fancy or selfishness of the person in-charge of orphanages. The person concerned may be liable for violation of human rights."
Referring to Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 which provides for the setting up of the "Human Rights Courts", it said that it was the mandate of the human rights law to establish such courts and to appoint special public prosecutors and issued notice to all the states on the issue.
It gave them two weeks time to respond.
The court order came on a plea by the NCPCR challenging the Calcutta High Court order blocking its probe into the allegations of trafficking of children staying in orphanages.
The high court was moved by the Additional Director General, CID of the West Bengal Police, who said that the incidents of alleged child trafficking have been brought to the notice of the West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and since it has taken cognizance of the incidents, the NCPCR had no jurisdiction.
The High Court by its August 29, 2017 order decided to examine the matter. While issuing notice to the NCPCR, it restrained it from proceeding in the matter.
The top court on Thursday stayed the high court order and directed the next hearing on January 22.