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Bringing kids to orphanages not child trafficking: Govt

August 7, 2014 · 

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TNN | Jul 19, 2014, 03.21 AM IST

KOCHI: The state government on Friday claimed in the high court that the act of bringing children from other states to orphanages in Kerala does not fall under the scope of child trafficking.

The government’s submission came in the form of a counter affidavit filed by social justice department through special government pleader T T Muhamood in response to two petitions filed alleging child trafficking, of which one seeks a CBI probe.

“Providing education and food to children cannot be treated as trafficking. So far, no exploitation on the part of institutions (orphanages) is reported and out of 578 children, 271 were former inmates and students of the orphanage(s) at Mukkam and Malappuram and realising the facts, the children were handed over to the orphanages by the child welfare committees. As such at present it cannot be considered as trafficking. However, the facts whether there is any exploitation in this issue is being promptly investigated by the special wing of the state police,” the affidavit read.

The government also points out that the admission of children from poor families in other states to educational institutions in Kerala utilizing the services of child care institutions registered under the Orphanage Control Board by parents is a long-standing practice. It also contended that children who have the support of parents or family do not come under the scope of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

As opposed to the amicus curiae’s report that there was systemic failure in preventing the alleged trafficking, the government claims that it is an effective mechanism for supervision and monitoring of orphanages. In addition to direct monitoring by social justice department, district level monitoring committees headed by the district collectors and a state level monitoring committee headed by the chief minister are also functioning, the affidavit said.

The government also submitted that it has taken a policy decision to allow the admission of children from other states on the basis of recommendation from the state government concerned. Revamping of minimum standards for care and protection of children in orphanages is also underway, the court was told.

During Friday’s hearing, the court has asked CBI to inform its stance on taking up the investigation in writing. The CBI’s counsel had earlier told the court that it is willing to conduct a probe. The CBI was also directed to submit details of investigation being carried out in other states with regard to the alleged trafficking incidents.

On Friday, advocate general K P Dandapani handed over a report on the progress of the ongoing crime branch investigation to the court in a sealed cover. Further hearing on the case is scheduled for July 30.

 

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/Bringing-kids-to-orphanages-not-child-trafficking-Govt/articleshow/38640038.cms

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