The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) told the Delhi High Court that the Delhi government did not carry out an appropriate inquiry to ensure care and protection of the two minor siblings, who lost their bread-earning father to Covid-19 last year.
The child rights’ body said the Delhi government’s reply to it is silent on the issue of giving benefits to the children so that they can continue their education in the same school in the future as well and it has not been mentioned that what steps have been taken by them to enquire whether the kids can be given benefit under the Right to Education Act.
The children are continuing their education in the same school at present, however, there is an apprehension that the children may not be allowed to continue in the same school from next session onwards, if they are in default of payment of their school fees, NCPCR said in its affidavit.
The affidavit was filed in response to a petition preferred by a 41-year-old deceased man’s daughter and son who are studying in class 7 and class 2 respectively.
The minors’ father, who was infected with Covid-19, was admitted to Jaipur Golden Hospital on April 18 and was put on oxygen support and he died on April 24 due to lack of oxygen supply as he was allegedly provided very minimal support of oxygen due to the shortage leading to his death, the plea said.
The plea, represented through advocate Bharat Malhotra and Sidhant Sethi, also cited a statement made by the hospital’s medical director that as many as 20 patients died and more than 200 lives were at stake due to lack of oxygen there.
The plea specifically sought to direct the authorities to expeditiously implement the schemes for children who are studying in private schools and have lost their sole bread-earning parent or family member.
The plea also sought direction that there shall not be any kind of prejudice to the minors’ education in the school where they are studying on account of non-payment of fees.
The NCPCR said regarding the financial liabilities and benefits to be given to the family, it is observed that the job compensation, gratuity, etc, have not been paid to the children till now.
The respondent no. 4 (NCPCR) is committed for the monitoring of the child right violation and reviewing child rights law across the country and therefore, believes that there is a need to take more steps to protect such children in need and care for protection, it said.
It added that a direction be issued to the state government for giving sponsorship under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act if it applies to these two siblings.
Delhi government, in its counter affidavit, in the matter had earlier said that it was implementing the ‘Mukhyarnantri Covid-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojana’ pursuant to which monthly assistance of Rs 2,500 was being provided to families who have lost an earning member and Rs 50,000 as ex gratia to families who have lost any member to the virus.
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