-Lataa Krishnamurti & Ajay Awasthi
As the Indian state celebrates its seventieth year of independence, it is perturbing to know that 35 percent of the population, which mainly comprises of children below the age of eighteen years, continues to remain unrepresented and voiceless. As early as in 1959, the United Nations General Assembly had declared the rights of the Child. While this declaration is pithy and all encompassing, the declaration was only persuasive in nature and was not binding on the member states. It took another 30 years for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 to take shape and become the binding law on the signatory states which had ratified it. Article 4 of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child reads as follows:
“Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.”
Despite the Government of India signing and ratifying the Convention as early as in 1992, it took thirteen long years to actually get the Parliament to legislate on the subject, which at that time had already affected the rights of over 41 percent of the Population. The Commissions for Protection of the Child Rights Act technically came into existence in 2005 but it was not until 2007 that it actually started functioning. Under the Act, elaborate qualifications have been prescribed for persons to be nominated as Chairpersons and the members of the National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights, which are pivotal agencies to enforce the rights of a child.
The recent case of Re: Exploitation of Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu v. Union of India and Ors. stands as a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India critiquing the functioning of the various agencies set up under the legislations to enforce child rights. In the coming paragraphs, the main findings of the judgment have been summarized. The Judgment has brought to the fore serious discrepancies in the implementation of the enactments. It takes judicial cognizance of the fact that the National and many of the State commissions are only functioning on paper.
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Cite as : Lataa Krishnamurti & Ajay Awasthi, Exploitation of Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu v. Union of India and Ors: An Overview, 1 Ind. J. of Const. & Admin. L. 47-51(2017).