New Delhi [India], July 28 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to record the statement of children, rescued from bonded labour, by Metropolitan Magistrates over video conferencing in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
The High Court directed that these children should not be physically taken to court premises for these purposes and added that it will pass a detailed order later.
With these directions, a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of the petition filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan allowing it to some extent.
The order came on a PIL, filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan through advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, claiming that the investigation officer (IO) had asked these rescued children to physically go to the Karkardooma court to record their statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
According to the petition, the children are between the age of 10-12 years and are staying at a shelter home. Delhi Government did not raise any objections on the issues demanded by the petitioner.
The court was also informed by the petitioner's lawyer that despite being of such a young age these children were being taken to the hospitals to get their COVID-19 tests done instead of the same being carried out in their respective shelter homes.
The NGO also sought that all proceedings by different authorities under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protestation of Children) Act, 2015 be held by audio-visual means or video conferencing to keep children from contracting the virus.
The plea sought directions to the respondents that no authority dealing with "children in need of care and protection" will pass an order requiring a child to physically be taken out of the institution where he/she is housed, till his/her repatriation in accordance with the law.
It also sought to take measures and propose a mechanism ensuring that a rescued child is tested for COVID-19 at the earliest on his/her rescue, preferably before the Child is sent to a Children's Home/Child Care Institution.
This comes after the petitioner NGO conducted a rescue operation in Vivek Vihar, after which it noted that the police were recording the statements of the 10 rescued children, who were working as bonded labourers, by physically taking them to court. (ANI)