Shimla: Umang Foundation has decided to approach Himachal Pradesh High Court against the orders of the state government to shut down 23 homes for underprivileged children in six districts across the state without preparing any contingency plan to take care of inmates when the homes are closed down.

Ajai Srivastava, chairman of Umang Foundation, in a press conference here today, said that the deputy commissioners of six districts have served notices to these homes that are not registered under Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, for shutdown within 15 days. The deadline will expire on 15th 2014.

To save its skin in the Supreme Court for 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 the homes which are unregistered without giving them opportunity to be heard, Ajay claimed. He added that some of them had applied for registration under the Act, but the directorate rejected them without assigning their application and even not bothered to intimate them. The directorate had written to the deputy commissioners on 14th February, January, 2014.

As per the government list, total 42 homes for children in need of care and protection exist in Himachal Pradesh; out of them only 19 have been granted registration. Out of the registered homes, 8 are owned by the government and 11 are run by NGOs receiving grant- in aid from the State.

The Supreme Court of India in the writ petition (crl) No.102 of 2007 had censured Himachal Pradesh government with some other states on 16th Child Laws including Juvenile Justice Act, and ordered them to file affidavit giving status report by 15th February, 2014. The court warned, “in the unlikely event of there being a non-compliance of any part of the directions issued by this Court, an officer of the rank of Principal Secretary of State Government shall remain present in person in the Court”. Earlier also on 3rd and 7th January 2013, the apex court had categorically directed the states including H.P. to fulfil their constitutional obligations by strictly implementing the Child Laws. But the H.P. Government did little, Srivastava rued.

Ajai Srivastava accused government for doing nothing on the Juvenile Justice for the last 13 years. This Act was brought in to force on 1st April, 2001. Now in pretext of the order of the apex court, the directorate of women and child development is all set to throw nearly 1500 children on streets, which is against the intention of the Supreme Court or human rights.

Srivastava advised Govt to give some time to the children homes for applying and making necessary arrangements. He said that if Govt didn’t give necessary direction, Umang Foundation will have to approach High Court.