Kochi: Kerala High Court today directed the state government to furnish by July two the details of investigation conducted by police so far in the case relating to bringing of over 500 children from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal meant for orphanages in the state.
Observing that it was a `serious issue` which requires thorough investigation, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon granted the government time till July two to place all details in a sealed cover.
The direction was issued on a PIL seeking CBI probe in the case.
Advocate General K P Dandapani claimed that Kerala government had taken all steps to protect the interests of the children.
While hearing the arguments in the case, the bench observed that there were contradictions in the statements made by the orphanages and their associations. "We should be convinced of the outcome of the investigation. Two to three persons have been arrested. Orphanages say children are pursuing their educaion. Then, why were the people arrested"?, the court asked.
The bench did not consider the pleas of Association of Orphanages, which claims to have 1800 orphanages under it, and the orphanage at Mukkam, to implead them in the case.
The counsel for Mukkam orphanage stated the children were studying there and they had gone home for summer vacation.
The court then asked "why so many children left their states. Why they came here and why a four-year-old girl child came without mother?".
The bench reiterated that sending away children will not solve problems. "They were brought like chicken", the judges held.
At least 580 children from three eastern states being brought to two orphanages in Kerala were detained by police at Palakkad railway station early this month on finding that many of them did not have proper documents.
The issue had snowballed into a major row in the state with IUML, key partner in the ruling UDF, taking objection to treating the incident as a case of child trafficking.
Taking serious note of the incident, Kerala State Child Rights Protection Commission had directed the government to take necessary steps to send the children back home.
The children are now kept at state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur.