Mumbai: Expressing shock at a newspaper
report on the deaths of five children in a span of two months
at an orphanage for mentally challenged, the Bombay High Court
today asked the state to file a reply within a week.
A city tabloid had run a story last month about the
deaths of children, with malnourishment as a possible cause,
at Satkarm Balgriha orphanage at Kavdas village in Shahpur
taluka of neighbouring Thane.
Following the report, the Chief Justice Mohit Shah
decided to take it up as a Public Interest Litigation.
"It raises fundamental question about denial of human
rights to mentally challenged children and apathy and neglect
on the part of the public authorities vested with statutory
powers," the court said.
The High Court also appointed Asha Bajpai of Tata
Institute of Social Sciences as amicus curie.
Today, the division bench of Chief Justice Shah and
Justice Dhanajay Chandrachud asked why government wakes up
only after the newspaper reports.
State told the court that remaining 18 children at the
orphanage, run by a private institute, have been "rescued".
The court has now sought a detailed reply from Women and
Child Welfare Department as to how the institute was granted
recognition, and whether there were any inspections by the
authorities. Hearing has been adjourned for a week.