The "huge amount of data" collected by the government and the NCPCR in their social audits on child care institutions across India needs to be analysed, the Supreme Court said Tuesday while hearing a matter related to abuse of children at orphanages and CCIs.
The "gaps" in the collection of data could be looked into while analysing it and the exercise needs expertise since it is a "continuing process", said a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta.
Advocate Aparna Bhat, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter, told the bench that there were gaps in collection of data as children residing in CCIs were not asked anything during the audit conducted by the ministry and the NCPCR.
She said that in the past eight months, instances of abuse of children in CCIs in 11 states have come to light but none of the reports of either the ministry or the NCPCR talks about them.
There should be an oversight committee to deal with the issue, she added.
When Bhat referred to a provision of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, the bench told the Centre's counsel that this legislation was there since 2015 but the issue was of its proper implementation.
"It is failure of the executive," the Centre's counsel said.
The bench said there is a large amount of data running into thousands of pages that is collected by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). "Who is going to analyse these huge data? NCPCR can not analyse it as they do not have the expertise."
The bench further said: "This exercise (social audit) has been done for the first time. One thing required is to have these data analysed. In the process of analysis of data, the gaps can be looked into. It is possible that there could be gaps but whatever data is existing, let that be analysed."
The counsel appearing for the Centre told the bench that he had discussed the issue of having a committee to analyse the data with the authorities concerned and the joint secretary of the ministry already has a team to carry out the exercise.
The bench said it would hear the matter on Wednesday and told the Centre's counsel to request the joint secretary of the ministry to remain in the court during the proceedings.
The amicus had earlier told the bench that the apex court in its last year's verdict asked the Centre to get social audit of all such CCIs conducted through the NCPCR.
On May 5 last year, the apex court had passed a slew of directions including setting up of a data base of children living in orphanages and CCIs to ensure their safety and welfare.
It had directed the Centre, state governments and Union Territories to complete the registration of all child care institutions by the year-end.
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