Child abuse: Social Justice Director asked to appear before HC

Bombay High Court is irked with Maharashtra government`s failure to address the issue of non-availability of shelter homes for children with special needs in Pune.

Mumbai: Irked with state government`s failure to submit a report indicating what steps it proposes to take to address the issue of non-availability of shelter homes for children with special needs in Pune, the Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the Director of Maharashtra`s Department of Social Justice, to appear before it.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Disabilities Rights Initiative regarding the condition of six destitute boys who were allegedly physically abused at the Yerwada mental facility.

According to the petition, the six boys were kept at the Yerwada facility along with adults suffering from mental disorders. It was also found that the children carried visible signs of fresh and old wounds and complained of having been physically abused by one Mr Mane.

The High Court had on the last hearing directed for the boys to be shifted to Sasoon hospital and also asked the state government to file a report on the non-availability of child care and rehab centres for such children.

Last year, all four homes for special children - Shriram Development and Rehabilitation centre in Daund, Anand Mahila Balkalyan Sanstha in Shirur, Jijamata Shikshan Prasarak Mandal and Sankalp Trust in Donje - were closed down by the state government for serious administrative violations.

However, till date the government failed to submit a report. An affidavit filed by the Sasoon government hospital said the boys were suffering from severe to mild epilepsy.

According to the hospital, the boys cannot be treated and were required to be shifted out.

After perusing the affidavit, Chief Justice Shah queried as to where would the boys be shifted to if they had to be discharged from the Sasoon hospital.

"Despite of the High Court order no report has been submitted by the state government. We direct the director of the Department of Social Justice to remain present before us on December 9," the court directed.

The court added that until alternate arrangements are made the six boys shall continue to remain in Sasoon hospital.