The Ministry of Women and Child Development is formulating guidelines for children’s hostels, prescribing the minimum standards of care that should be provided to children. This comes in the wake of institutions, housing children on the request of parents who are unable to take care of them and their education or due to other circumstances which force parents to keep them at children’s homes, not registering under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The Supreme Court in its Order in the case of “Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu” Vs. Union of India [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 102 of 2007] has directed that the definition of the expression ‘child in need of care and protection’ under Section 2 (14) of the JJ Act, 2015 should not be interpreted as an exhaustive definition.
The definition is illustrative and the benefits envisaged for the children in need of care and protection should be extended to all such children requiring State care and protection. Further, vide the same order, the Union and the State Governments have been directed to enforce minimum standards of care required for such children living in any facility either created by the Government system or by civil society organisations.
In view of the directions of the Apex Court in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 102 of 2007, the Ministry is drafting the guidelines which will be applicable to any institution not falling under the categories mentioned in the JJ Act.
Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, said, “Children staying at hostels, including those attached to schools, are as vulnerable as childrenat any other facility like child-care institutions (CCIs) and day-care centres. Therefore, we decided to formulate a set of guidelines to ensure adequate safety, minimum standard of living conditions and periodic inspections at hostels. The Ministry has directed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to draftthe guidelines in consultation with stakeholders concerned and we plan to have these guidelines notified under the Juvenile Justice Act or the JJ Rules”.