The Gujarat High Court on Thursday ruled that rescued juveniles who are in need of care and protection cannot be kept at observation home and have to be kept at either children home or shelter home till they are produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala also directed authorities concerned to produce such juveniles even before a single member of the CWC within 24 hours.
The bench passed the directions while partly allowing a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by Ahmedabad-based lawyer Rohit Verma.
The petitioner had sought to regularise the functioning of CWC and to direct the authorities to make sure that juveniles in need of care and protection are kept at Children Home and not at Observation Home as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
The petition was based on an incident of April 17 when a child labour, Ajay Parmar (16), working at a tea-stall in Paldi area of the city was taken away by some child rights organisation to Observation Home at Khanpur.
On learning about the incident, Verma sent a colleague along with the mother of Ajay to the Observation Home on the same day. However, Ajay’s mother was not given custody of the boy on the ground that the CWC assembles only once a week, on Thursday. She got his custody on April 19 and till then he was kept at the Observation Home.
Along with other prayers, the petitioner had sought compensation for the parents of Ajay and other juveniles who had faced a similar situation.
The prayer for compensation was rejected by the court.