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The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a status report from the State of Tamil Nadu after taking note of the media reports regarding 35 children in Chennai's shelter home being infected after the warden reportedly tested COVID-19 positive. (In Re Contagion of COVID 19 virus in children protection homes)
The Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari, and S Ravindra Bhat sought to know from the State of Tamil Nadu of the steps the State is taking to ensure spread of COVID-19 in children's homes is curbed. This move came after the news of as many as 35 children contracting the virus surfaced.
The Court said that it appears that the children were infected due to the warden of the shelter home having contracted the virus.
The Court today asked the State of Tamil Nadu to give directions to the Secretary (Health) to give a status report on the issue as well as on the steps taken with regard to safeguarding the health of remaining children. The Court said,
The Court also said that a questionnaire prepared by Justice Bhat will be given to all the Juvenile Justice Committees manned by respective State governments across the country. This questionnaire will check if the States have implemented the directions passed by the Court in its order on April 3 in relation to curbing spread of COVID-19 in children homes.
In April, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the potential spread of COVID-19 in shelter homes, where children are lodged as per the Juvenile Justice Act. The Court said that it felt the need to pass certain directions for ensuring the well-being of these children.
In the order passed by the Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta, the Court said that the directions passed are in line with the current available information regarding preventive measures. However, considering the dynamic nature of the situation, the Court also asked state departments and concerned authorities to keep abreast with the latest information and advisories.
The Court in its order had passed directions for Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), laid down measures to be taken by Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) and Children Courts, measures to be taken by the state governments, Directions to CCIs, among other things.