New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday took "serious" note of deaths of over 40 children in relief camps for riot-affected people in Muzaffarnagar and directed Uttar Pradesh government to immediately take remedial measures to meet the threat of winter.
The apex court, which asked the state administration to "ascertain the correctness" of the media-based "serious" averments made in a petition, expressed displeasure that despite its orders to take adequate relief and rehabilitation measures, incidents of death of children have been reported leading to uproar in Parliament.
"We read in the newspapers about the death of children in the relief camps. Even Parliament also discussed the death of children. It is a matter of serious concern," a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi said.
"We directed that adequate measures should be taken in relief camps and even then all these are happening," the bench observed while directing the state government to take all necessary steps and remedial measures for affected people, including children, by tomorrow morning itself.
"We direct the state to ascertain the correctness of the reports on the death of children and file the report on the next date of hearing on January 21 and in view of the serious averments made in the petition, the state is directed to take all measures including medical and provide all remedies to the affected people from tomorrow morning," the bench said.
Senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said authorities were critical of the nodal officers on their alleged negligence and they will respond as it concerns the right to shelter.
Dhavan said though there may be people in the matter with various agenda like political, communal, civil rights and liberty, the state government has never been treating it as an adversarial litigation.
Some of the NGOs and their counsel like Colin Gonsalves, involved in the matter, claimed that they have investigated the death of children and are providing details about them.
The apex court, which said it was concerned with the death of children, refused to take any other issue relating to the riots in districts of Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and other adjoining areas, saying it will hear all parties on January 21 and decide the future course of action.