Protection of children paramount, do regular inspections at shelter homes: Madras HC

District Child Protection Officers and other authorities should conduct the checks to ensure good living conditions and facilities for the children.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court
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Observing that giving protection to children is of paramount importance and a duty cast on the State under the Constitution, the Madras High Court has directed the authorities concerned to make periodical inspections at shelter homes where boys and girls were given care. The interest of minor children under no circumstances should be compromised by the State and the authorities competent.

The jurisdictional respective District Child Protection Officers and other authorities should conduct periodical inspection of such homes to ensure that good living conditions and facilities are provided to them by the administrators of the homes. The officials should submit reports to the higher officials for the purpose of pursuing any action under the relevant law, Justice SM Subramaniam said.

The judge was disposing of a writ petition on October 8 from Eternal Word Trust Represented, a registered charitable trust in Chennai, challenging a January 21, 2015 communication of the Tahsildar in Ambattur taluk in Tiruvallur district, which stated that during an inspection, 24 male and 25 female children were found kept under the custody of the petitioner-trust without obtaining proper permission from the authority concerned.

When the court ordered an inspection, it was found that no children were kept in the shelter home. Disposing of the petition, the judge made it clear that in the event of failure on the part of the competent authorities in conducting the periodical inspections, the head of the department and the government shall initiate appropriate actions against all such officials.

"These sorts of complaints are frequently received by the High Court due to lack of periodical inspection. If the inspection is conducted in a routine manner by the authorities concerned, such situations would never arise or at least would have been avoided. Thus, the seriousness regarding the interest of the minor children is to be considered by the government and the head of the department and all appropriate actions are to be initiated," the judge added.

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