SC frowns on Delhi, Bengal for not sharing info of kids orphaned amid Covid


The Supreme Court on Monday asked the West Bengal government to comply with its order in connection with collection of and uploading data on children who were either orphaned or are under distress amid Covid on the National Commission for Protection of Children Rights (NCRCR) portal.

The NCPCR told the top court that both West Bengal and Delhi have not been cooperating and also not provided latest data on the number of children who have lost parents amid the pandemic.

The Delhi government counsel said the government solely depends on data provided by child welfare committees, while in other states, departments directly provide information to the District Magistrate, which gives more accuracy to the information collected.

A bench, headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, said states have constituted district task officers, where officers come are from various departments, including revenue, district collector, magistrate etc, and suggested that the same model can be adopted by Delhi.

The top court also asked the Delhi government to upload the information on the NCPCR’s website as soon as it is collected and implement its schemes without waiting for the court’s order.

The bench, also comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose, told counsel appearing for West Bengal that the state government should direct the authorities to provide the information and upload it on the portal of the NCPCR immediately.

The bench said it asked for information pertaining to children orphaned after March 2020, and include CNCPs (Children in Need of Care and Protection) also. “All the other states have understood and have uploaded the information, how is it that only West Bengal doesn’t understand the order?” it asked.

The top court further queried why there is confusion only with West Bengal, when all other states have provided the data. “Don’t take refuge under confusion,” it said.

The bench made these observations following submissions from Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the NCPCR, that Delhi and West Bengal have not given information.

Meanwhile, the Centre also informed the top court that it needed some more time to inform it on the modalities of PM Cares scheme for children orphaned during Covid.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, informed the court that they are in consultation with states and ministries to work out the modalities of the scheme and sought more time.

“We have made District Magistrates directly responsible for the children who have been abandoned or have been orphaned,” added Bhati.

The top court gave the Centre some more time to formulate the modalities of the scheme.