SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Friday pulled up the social welfare department for utter negligence in handling the affairs of state-run orphanages. The court expressed displeasure on deficiencies in the report presented before the division bench on the facilities available at the orphanages. The government was asked to take the issues plaguing the orphanages seriously.
The court directed the government to furnish detailed checklist of what the deficiencies were in orphanages.
The plea submitted by senior lawyer Bashir Ahmed Bashir said that the state’s orphanage homes were in bad condition as most of them were bereft of basic facilities. Children at orphanage homes are not provided basic facilities and most of these homes are without the requisite staff. “Ten to 15 children are many times kept in single room,” the report said adding a girls’ orphanage at Chadoora has one supervisor who is otherwise on the rolls as a craft assistant and takes care of 25 girls single-handedly, overseeing all aspects of their upbringing, starting from their basic food and clothing. There is no transport facility for the children in Chadoora, and no medical facilities are provided to them.
The social welfare department secretary, who was present before the court, admitted that orphanage homes had not been set up as per the norms and that facilities provided were not up to the mark.
Taking note of this, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the government to file a report on the next hearing regarding the deficiencies in J&K’s orphanages in all aspects including bedding,medical facilities, food and clothing, play space and participation in sporting activities, apart from the presence of staff required in each orphanage, whether run by the government or an NGO.
“The directions are passed every time but you are not complying (with) what is required. You are the parents. If you don’t take care of them, who will take care? We all are duty-bound towards them to make them better citizens; otherwise we all will be failing in our duties. Their future means the future of the state and country,” Chief Justice Ahmed said.
The court further directed that there is a need of 17 permanently posted officials like a superintendent in-charge, probationary officers, care takers, counsellors, vocational instructors, cooks and maids, besides part time medical doctors, psychiatrists, paramedics and nurses.
The court directed the social welfare secretary to fill up these posts on a priority basis and file a report regarding the same on the next date of hearing. The bench also sought details of registered homes run by the government or NGOs, on the next date of hearing.
The court also pressed for the proper care of children at orphanage centres with regards to their physical and mental growth.