1,500 kids to go homeless as Himachal shuts charity homes

1,500 kids to go homeless as Himachal shuts charity homes

Welfare trust Umang Foundation Sunday said it would approach the Himachal Pradesh High Court against the state government decision to shut 23 unregistered charity homes for underprivileged children.

The order has created panic among nearly 1,500 children in these homes who are preparing for their examinations, Ajai Srivastava, chairman of Umang Foundation based here, told IANS.

He said a notice has been issued by the government to these homes under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 for shut down by Feb 15.

"To save its skin in the Supreme Court from criminal inaction in implementing the child laws in the state, the directorate of women and child development is now in a hurry to close down all those homes which are unregistered, without giving them an opportunity to be heard," he said.

Srivastava said some homes had applied for registration under the act, but the directorate rejected their applications without assigning any reason and did not even bother to intimate them.

According to the government list, a total of 42 homes for children in need of care and protection exist in the state. Of these, only 19 have been granted registration.
Of the registered homes, the government owns eight while non-governmental organisations that receive grant-in-aid from the state, run 11.

The apex court Dec 16, 2013, censured Himachal Pradesh along with some other states for non-implementation of child laws, including the Juvenile Justice Act, and ordered them to file affidavit, giving status report by Feb 15.

"Earlier, the apex court Jan 3, 2013, and then Jan 7, 2013, categorically directed the states, including Himachal, to fulfil constitutional obligations by strictly implementing the child laws. But Himachal did little," said Srivastava.

He said the government has been sleeping over the Juvenile Justice Act for the past 13 years.

"Now, on the pretext of the apex court order, the directorate of women and child development is all set to throw nearly 1,500 children on the streets, which is against the Supreme Court orders or human rights," Srivastava added.

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