The Calcutta High Court on Friday asked the Chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Women to provide information on the reports of cases of child rights violations in the state, amidst the lockdown.
The bench comprising of Justice Soumen Sen and Justice Harish Tandon took notice of a newspaper article wherein the Chairperson had stated that there had been a spike of domestic violence cases during the lockdown, including cases of sexual abuse of children and violation of child rights.
The Court thus ordered,
“We direct the Chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Women to share information of child rights violation during the lockdown period as reported to the said Commission with the Learned Advocate General by Tuesday (23.06.2020) so as to enable the Learned Advocate General to place it before us on the next date of hearing.“
The court has also directed the Home Secretary to file an affidavit giving in all details relating to child rights violation cases in the state.
The above order has been passed in a suo moto case registered for protection of all children lodged in shelter homes, etc., amidst the pandemic.
In addition, the court also ordered the Child and Social Welfare Department to provide details on the system of “post-restoration follow up” for the restored children.
The Department had informed the Court that DCPUs/ Staff of CCIs regularly follow up with restored children on their physical and mental health, economic condition of the families, food security, sensitisation about taking precautionary measures against COVID 19 and so on. It was further submitted that a structured questionnaire has been developed for the sexual abuse.
The court has thus called for an affidavit to be filed by the Secretary, disclosing the nature of the instruction issuedincluding structured questionnaire for sexual abuse with illustration of few cases, to be submitted by 24th June, 2020.
The court also has directed the Principal Secretary, Labour Department, Government of West Bengal to file an affidavit in relation to infringement of child rights via-a-vis labour laws and disclose steps taken by the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice for sexual abuse.
The matter is now be heard on June 25, 2020.
Read the petition here: