NEW DELHI: At a time when cases of sexual abuse from children homes in Muzaffarpur and Deoria have shocked the nation, it turns out that the agency appointed for pan-India mapping and audit of children’s homes as per the directions of the Supreme Court has been denied access to child care institutions in nine states, including Bihar and UP.
This despite the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the ministry of women and child development writing to the states to comply with the SC’s orders. The states where the audit agency is yet to access homes also includes Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Kerala and West Bengal.
Odisha too was on this list but the Centre’s intervention finally led to it agreeing to the audit exercise. The view emanating from these states is that they want to do their own audits. According to data available with NCPCR, there are 5,850 registered child care institutions as on date and 1,339 homes that are yet to register though the SC had set a deadline of December 31 last year.
Bihar’s social welfare minister Kumari Manju Verma — whose husband has been accused of having links with the alleged mastermind of the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case — on Wednesday tendered her resignation.
There may be more such institutions which are not in the NCPCR list and hence the mapping exercise under the audit is critical. In Bihar, as per NCPCR data, there are 71 childcare institutions and 231 in UP. The NCPCR has intimated the status of the audit to the SC in a recent hearing in the ongoing public interest litigation, officials said.
So far, the Lucknow-based Academy of Management Studies, selected through a tender process, has carried out the audit and mapping of 3,000 institutions across states. According to senior NCPCR officials, the audit agency assigned the task in March conveyed to them in May that 10 states were not giving them access to their CCIs.
Before that some of these states had written to the child rights body on their own expressing reservations over allowing the audit agency into these homes. NCPCR wrote back to these states and then sought the intervention of the WCD ministry to step in to resolve the impasse. The ministry’s brass is learned to have issued an advisory in July. Meanwhile, NCPCR put forth its status report before the Supreme Court.
As things stand today, while Odisha had agreed to the audit exercise, NCPCR or the WCD ministry are yet to hear from the nine states on allowing the audit exercise, officials said. The NCPCR, too, has not yet heard from the audit agency if they have received any response from these nine states.
“We are trying to convince them,” a senior official in the ministry said when asked if states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were planning to join the audit.