Court was hearing a plea alleging that 5 children were kidnapped from care home
Taking a serious view of the incident of escape of five minor girls from a children’s home at Bakhtawarpur in March this year, the Delhi High Court has called for the presence of Joint Director, Child Protection Unit, Department of Women and Child Development, to assess the overall functioning of such institutions in the Capital.
Justice Subramonium Prasad gave the direction while hearing a petition which alleged that five minor children aged between 13 and 16 years were kidnapped on March 27, 2021, from Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT), Bakhtawarpur.
The petition sought a direction for conducting a magisterial inquiry into the affairs of the institution as to how children of vulnerable age escaped from there.
Delhi Police, in its status report, filed before the High Court stated that its official visited the children’s home following the incident and found that the building was about 40-45 years old and the condition of rooms and windows were not good.
Building in bad shape
They said that the iron roads of the windows were found weak. The back side boundary wall, which is about 8-feet-high, was also found in a deteriorated condition. “As per the present condition of the building, it is very much possible that the inmates can escape easily from there,” the police said.
The institution has recently got CCTV cameras installed at the rear side after the escape incident. The police said that at present 63 girls are lodged in KGNMT, Bakhtawarpur, and a total of 16 CCTV cameras are found installed.
14 incidents of escape
The police further said that no security guard, especially female guards, were found deployed at KGNMT. During enquiry, it was revealed that total 14 incidents of escape of girls, including the escape of fivegirls, had taken place.
“In all the previous incidents, separate FIRs were registered. No active connivance or negligence of the staff of KGNMT could be established till date in the investigation,” the police said in its report.
Taking note of the status report, Justice Prasad 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 at 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.”
The judge ordered the Joint Director, Child Protection Unit, Department of Women and Child Development, to be present in the court on December 9 for assisting the court in giving directions to ensure better functioning of various child care institutions.
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