NGO in soup for presenting pregnant teen before media

A complaint has been lodged with the District Child Welfare Committee (CWC) alleging that Odanadi Seva Samsthe, Mysore, has violated rehabilitation norms by presenting a pregnant teenage girl before the media.

Recalling a recent incident during the visit of the chairperson of the Women’s Commission, Manjula Manasa, to Odanadi, Baburaj, the director of People’s Legal Forum, has complained that Odanadi “has violated and abused the child’s right to privacy” by exposing the child to the media.

During Manasa’s visit, the 14-year-old girl had appealed to Manjula to allow her to meet her husband who is in jail.

“If the girl wants to meet her husband in jail, the proper way is to write to the CWC for facilitating such an arrangement, rather than presenting the girl before the chairperson of the Women’s Commission and the media,” he said.

In his complaint, the former member of the CWC has urged the committee to take the pregnant girl back under its custody and issue a show-cause notice to Odanadi and initiate disciplinary action against the NGO.

Reacting to the issue, District CWC chairperson Sheela Khare said she had received the complaint regarding violation of the rights of the girl. “The CWC will write to Odanadi Seva Samsthe and seek clarifications regarding the issue,” she said.

The District CWC will also look into how the girl was transferred to Odanadi from the Government Girls’ Home in the city.

Responding to a question, she affirmed that there were guidelines in the Juvenile Justice Act which prohibited people from displaying victims of sexual abuse to the media.

On whether Odanadi had sought prior permission from the CWC to present the girl before the Women’s Commission chairperson, she said she was not aware whether permission was granted or not.

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