Deaths in orphanage: HC seeks govt reply within a week

A city tabloid had run a story last month about deaths of children, with malnourishment as a possible cause, at Satkarm Balgriha orphanage at Kavdas village in Shahpur taluka of neighbouring Thane.

Following the report, the Chief Justice Mohit Shah decided to take it up as a Public Interest Litigation. "It raises fundamental question about denial of human rights to mentally challenged children and apathy and neglect on the part of the public authorities vested with statutory powers," court said.

The High Court also appointed Asha Bajpai of Tata Institute of Social Sciences as amicus curie. Today, the division bench of Chief Justice Shah and Justice Dhanajay Chandrachud asked why government wakes up only after the newspaper reports.

State told the court that remaining 18 children at the orphanage, run by a private institute, have been "rescued". Court has now sought a detailed reply from Women and Child Welfare Department as to how the institute was granted recognition, and whether there were any inspections by the authorities. Hearing has been adjourned for a week.

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