State-run orphanages lack adequate staff, sports facilities
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Thursday directed the State Sports Council to provide sports and coaching facilities at Shalimar based Children’s Home for boys and girls and Observation Home at Harwan.
During the court hearing on the plight of children in state-run orphanages, Chif Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad said that the children residing in orphanages must be exposed to recreational activities besides their proper education. “They (underprivileged children) should be taken to places so that they can get exposure as they dream of becoming doctors, engineers and other dignitaries upon which nation can rely on,” Justice Ahmad remarked.
The State government presented an affidavit before the high court on the prevailing condition of orphanages in Kashmir division.
The court had sought fresh affidavit as the previous document submitted in the court was found “unsatisfactory and doesn’t address the issues of juveniles under Juvenile Justice Act 2013.”
While hearing the public interest litigation (PIL), the division bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said that for the first time, the government is honestly coming up with the deficiencies.
The affidavit on behalf of Commissioner Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department mentioned the staff strength and staff deficiencies of various orphanages and the facilities provided by them.
As per the affidavit, the orphanage in Chadoora has one superintendent one art and one craft cum music teacher. The orphanage has enrolled 25 children. Against the requirement of 16 staff members, only 2 are recruited.
Justice Durrez said, “Where is the cook. Who will cook food for students? Do they have to cook food by themselves?”
The court directed Amicus curie, Advocate Bashir Ahmed to examine the affidavit and present points of action on next date of hearing.
The affidavit stated that there are 23 registered orphanages in Kashmir but didn’t mention about the number of unregistered orphanages and the list of orphanages in Jammu division.
“Provide list of unregistered orphanages as well because they have to be closed down,” said Justice Durrez.
The court further directed the secretary, SWD to invite advocate Bashir Ahmed for a meeting on 27 October so that he can put forward his points.