SUPREME COURT ON THOSE WHO GOT ORPHANED DUE TO COVID BY NIMESH ROHILLA @LEXCLIQ

During this pandemic of Covid 19 many people have lost their life and left behind their loved ones .During this pandemic many children lost their parents. And now it is hard for them to take care of themselves so in regard The Supreme Court on Tuesday dated 27 july,2021 made an oral observation that the the welfare schemes for orphans, such as the one announced under the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund(PM CARES Fund), should cover all children who became orphans during COVID-19, and not just those who got orphaned due to COVID. Under this observation a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose observed that the scheme, which contemplates a corpus of Rs 10 lakhs for orphans by the time they turn 23 years, is covering only children who became orphans on account of losing parents during the COVID period. The bench pointed out its suo motu case [ Re Contagion of COVID Virus in Children Protection Homes] is dealing with children who became orphans after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Background of the Matter:-

On May 28, the Court had directed the Union and States to identify children who have become orphans post March, 2020, whether it be due to the pandemic or otherwise, and upload their information in the ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The bench has also passed directions to control illegal adoption of such orphans.

The bench had earlier sought details from the Centre regarding the benefits announced under The P.M. CARES Fund for orphans.

Observations made by Justice Nagaeswara Rao,
“The order that we passed covers all children who became orphans during this period and not just due to deaths due to COVID”,

This needs to be clarified by the Union, because we are looking for information on the scheme. Here, this 10 lakh support announced may only be for children whose parents died due to Covid. But I think it should also apply to other orphans from this period”

Later during the hearing,

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the bench that the welfare scheme under the PM CARES Funds, in its present form, is for children who became orphans due to COVID.

The bench said that,
It was not asking to extend the scheme under the PM CARES to all orphans but was highlighting the need to protect all orphans who became so during the pandemic.

“Well the criteria of the orphans can be considered wide and who people shall be taken care of under this scheme. The intentions of the court cleared that it was not asking to extend the scheme under the PM CARES to all orphans but was highlighting the need to protect all orphans who became orphans during the pandemic”.

“We are not on the PM Cares fund today. You can take instructions but we are clarifying we are not asking you to extend. The other schemes you have, please see those are implemented immediately”, Justice Rao clarified.

The bench also pointed out that India is a signatory to the CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILD and therefore the State has an obligation to take care of orphans.

I have talked about that convention later in this article.

“We have seen a lot of schemes on paper, we have to see these schemes become a reality and reach these orphans”, Justice Rao said.

Actions taken by Central Government:-

The Central Government counsel agreed to get clarification on this point by taking instructions from the concerned authorities.

RE CONTAGION OF COVID VIRUS IN CHILDREN PROTECTION HOMES

During the second wave of Covid 19 India got affected by it badly, and many children protection homes caught the spread of covid virus.
The suo motu [ relating to an action taken by a court of its own accord, without any request by the parties involved] case was initiated in March 2020 to address the issue of COVID spread in juvenile homes, child care centres . This year, during the second wave, the Court took note of the issue of children who became orphans during the COVID pandemic period.

Objectives of P.M.care Fund

To undertake and support relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress, either man-made or natural, including the creation or upgradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support.

To render financial assistance, provide grants of payments of money or take such other steps as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to the affected population.

To undertake any other activity, which is not inconsistent with the above Objects.

KINDS OF P.M. FUNDS

P.M. National relief Fund
P.M. Care Fund
National Defense fund

What is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Children.?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC) is an international human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.[4] The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless the age of majority is attained earlier under national legislation.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989. The Convention was formally opened for ratification on 26 January, 1990, the Government of India ratified the CRC on 11 December, 1992.

Conclusion:-

From time to time P.M. Care fund has helped India face many bad times. During this pandemic not only covid 19 affected indian economy. And the supreme court needed to make sure that the purpose of this scheme should reach its best extent. The bench also underscored the need to ensure that the schemes announced reach the real beneficiaries and not just remain on paper. This shows the need to do this right. Well problems like to make sure this fund reaches to the person who needs it. And people might start making illegal adoptions to enjoy the benefits of this scheme. So it must be noted that any such act which ensures that the adoption of the children who lost their parents during Covid is made with only the intent of enjoying the benefits of this scheme can get you in big trouble. And as a respected Citizen of India and lawyer it is also my duty to tell you about such information that can help the person who needs this.

Thank you for reading.

WRITTEN BY.
Nimesh Rohilla

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