NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought the presence of an official of the city government in connection with a plea alleging the escape or abduction of five minor girls from a children’s home and said it will pass necessary directions to ensure better functioning of the childcare institutions here.
Dealing with a petition filed by one of the five girls who claimed to have been kidnapped on March 27, Justice Subramonium Prasad said the matter cannot be confined to only one incident.
The petitioner has sought the court’s direction for a magisterial enquiry into the affairs of the institution meant for children who are in need of care and protection.
“Let the Joint Director, Child Protection Unit, Department of Women and Child Development, be present in the court for assisting the court in giving directions to ensure better functioning of the various childcare institutions,” the judge said.
“This petition cannot be confined only to the one incident of March 26-27, 2021 where five minor children escaped from the home. The overall functioning of the institutions has to be assessed to see as to whether adequate measures have been provided in the homes so as to ensure that the children do not escape from such homes and what facilities have been provided to the children in the homes,” he added.
In its status report, the Delhi Police informed the court that the institute’s building, which was about 40-45 years old, was in such a condition that it was easily possible for the occupants to escape.
“Due to the old structure of the building, the condition of the rooms and the windows were also not found good. The iron rods of the windows were found very weak. The backside boundary wall is about eight-foot high and was also found in a deteriorated condition,” it said.
The report added that presently, there are 63 girls in the building with 16 CCTV cameras but no adequate security personnel, especially female guards.
It stated that till date, the investigation has not revealed any active connivance or negligence of the institution’s staff in the escape of the five girls.
It, however, mentioned that a total of 14 such incidents of escape of girls were reported from the same place.
The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), in its reply, raised concerns about the way the institute was functioning.
The matter would be heard next on December 9.