The Supreme Court on Monday (September 13,2021), directed the State of Maharashtra's Department of Child and Welfare to present a concrete plan for spending Rs. 25 crore on the welfare of children who had lost both parents to the COVID 19 pandemic.
In its order, a division bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna noted that approximately 19,000 children had lost at least one parent due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and it was estimated that 593 children had lost both parents as a result of the pandemic.
The Court has also ordered the Department of Child and Welfare to file its response within three weeks, submitting the plan.
In his appearance on behalf of the State of Maharashtra, Advocate Sachin Patil informed the Supreme Court of the State's policy dated June 17, 2021, under which the State had decided to place Rs. 5 lakh as a fixed deposit per child who had lost both parents, to be paid when the child reached the age of majority.
It was also his contention that the information of 593 children had been uploaded to the NCPCR portal as part of the Bal Swaraj Yojana.
The Court also noted that the amount of Rs. 20 crores deposited pursuant to the order dated December 16, 2016 had now increased to Rs. 25 crores as a result of the amount of interest.
The orders were issued while the bench was hearing a Miscellaneous Application for Directions in relation to a special leave petition against a Bombay High Court order that was disposed of on December 16, 2016.
In its order, the Supreme Court noted the State of Maharashtra's submission of depositing Rs. 20 crores in the Registry after recovering it from the respondents (who had admitted students in their college in breach of Supreme Court orders in Hind Charitable Trust Shekhar Hospital Pvt Ltd. v Union of India).
"The same was to be used for juvenile justice issues," the Court had said in its December 2016 order.