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Delhi HC asks DSLSA to suggest guidelines for children reunited with parents by Child Welfare Committee – The Indian Express

The Delhi High Court recently directed the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to suggest guidelines and safeguards for children handed over by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) or by any other authority to their parents. The court direction came while it was hearing a case pertaining to the release of 11 children who were rescued from a brothel in Delhi’s G B Nagar in June 2015.
A single-judge bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta was hearing a plea moved by the DSLSA against an order of the CWC directing the 11 children to “be restored to their respective parents”. CWC had passed the orders based on reports, dated January 4, 2016 and January 8, 2016, of the shelter homes where the children were residing.
DSLSA contended in its petition that the impugned orders were passed without proper verification and without “laying down any procedure” to ascertain whether the children — both boys and girls — aged between four to 13 years, who were rescued from a brothel, have been “brought back into the mainstream”.
In a previous hearing on February 15, 2019, the counsel for DSLSA, who had taken the responsibility of verifying the wellbeing of the children, said that the status of the children could not be verified as DSLSA was not granted access and enquiries did not show that the children were living with the parents.
The high court thereafter directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Kamla Market, to conduct an investigation “to trace out the 11 children and to submit a report as to their present status and well being”.
The high court had further directed the CWC to cooperate with the DCP in the conduct of enquiry and tracing of the children, further directing them to also file a report on the status of the children.
On October 11, the high court was informed by DSLSA’s counsel that a status report had been filed for eight out of the 11 children while a report regarding the remaining three children is yet to be filed. “It is also informed that some of the children were residing in Nepal and as such, the requisite enquiry/verification was being coordinated through Co-ordinate Agencies with association of Ministry of External Affairs,” the order records.
When the counsel for the state sought time to file a status report as the investigating officer was unavailable when the matter was called, the high court directed that the DCP, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit/Crime, Kamla Market to be present on the next date of hearing and to ensure that the status report is filed positively before the next date of hearing as the compliance of the February 15, 2019 order is partially pending.
The high court directed the DSLSA’s Secretary to suggest guidelines/safeguards which may be adopted in such eventualities, prior to the release of children by CWC or by any other authority. The matter is next listed on December 2.
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