The Delhi High Court has pulled up the city government for “miserably failing” to carry out its duty as ”State” towards two children seeking assistance and support in terms of the disabilities law, terming it as a sorry state of affairs.
Justice Gaurang Kanth noted that in spite of the Delhi government’s assurance –- given over two years ago– that it would “take all possible steps in the best interest of the children” suffering from cerebral palsy, it was “not in a position to even consider” the children’s case positively or to take steps to provide adequate assistance.
“The affidavit filed by Joint Director (CPU), Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Delhi shows the sorry state of affairs of children in the State of Delhi. The affidavit has been filed to address the concern of this Court in providing assistance to petitioner No. 1 & 2,” the court said in its order dated September 8.
“On the one hand, respondent No. 5 (Delhi government) is assuring this Court to take all possible steps in the best interest of the children in the State of Delhi, but even after two-and-a-half years of giving this assurance to this Court, respondent No. 5 has miserably failed to carry out their duties as a ‘State’. It appears that respondent No. 5 is not in a position to even consider the case of petitioner Nos. 1 & 2 positively or to take any steps for providing adequate assistance to support the needs of the petitioners,” the court said.
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Justice Kanth stated that the conduct of the city government was “highly contemptuous” and he was thus inclined to issue contempt notice but proceeded to grant an opportunity to the authorities concerned to take appropriate action.
“This court records its displeasure about the conduct of respondent No. 5, which is highly contemptuous and hence, this Court is inclined to issue contempt notice to the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi. At this stage, learned counsel for respondent No. 5 seeks one last opportunity to comply with the order dated 29.01.2020 of this Court. He is at liberty to take appropriate action in compliance of order dated 29.01.2020 passed by this Court,” it said.
The court noted that in its order dated January 29, 2020, it had directed the Department of Social Welfare, Delhi government to consider the case of children and take a decision on the support that needs to be provided to them in view of the mandate as well as the object and purpose of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
The order said the court, at the time of passing the order in 2020, was conscious of the fact that the city government had not notified ‘Authority’ as required under Section 38(1) of the Act and hence, there was no scheme which would presently cover the case of the petitioners.
It had, however, directed the Delhi government to consider the case of the children here as a “State which is responsible for taking steps to protect the best interest of all children residing in the State of Delhi”.