The matter titled : In re : Contagion of COVID -19 Virus in Child Protection Homes was to be heard by a division bench comprising of Justices L. Nageshwara Rao and Deepak Gupta on 3rd April, 2020 The Supreme Court had taken a suo moto cognizance of the conditions of children in the protection homes across the country. The court is concerned about the challenging times that are prevailing in the country amid the corona pandemic. The Court issued directions to the state governments and other authorities to protect the lives of children in the juvenile, protection, foster and kinship homes across the country. And the information should be circulated to child welfare committees on how to curb the spread and raise awareness accordingly.
The court has put forth the urgency of measures to be adopted to prevent the spread of the virus to these child care institutions.
The bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta said, "This petition has been listed suo motu because of the COVID-19 pandemic which is sweeping the country. There are children who need care and attention or children in conflict with law who are kept in various types of homes."
The Court has issued directions for the child welfare committees and juvenile justice boards across the country. The Court further said, "Gate-keeping or preventive measures need to be considered and families counselled to ensure that institutionalization is the last resort. Focus should be on prevention of separation when possible."
The directions used by the Court were formulated on basis of the current information and it further said, "State governments and nodal departments are therefore requested to keep the superintendents abreast with all relevant advisories and circulars, along with guidance issued wherever required. The Juvenile Justice Committees (JJCs) of every high court shall also ensure that these directions are complied with in letter and spirit. At the same time, it will be ensured that the directions issued by the states in respect of the lockdown shall not be violated."
Further to which, a copy of the order by email had been directed to the court registry to have it forwarded to the chief secretaries of the State and Union Territories.