Boy rescued from home for mentally deficient tops class full of regular kids
A division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai passed the directive on Thursday after being informed by Dr Asha Bajpai and Sarita Shankaran about how a 12-year-old from the Mankhurd home for mentally deficient children had topped his class in the first-term exams.
The hearing was part of a suo motu public interest litigation, which it had taken up following this newspaper’s August 2010 expose about sexual exploitation of children in special shelters. Bajpai told the court there could be more such children in various MDC homes across the state who are branded mentally deficient but can be transferred to regular homes and schools.
The court then directed the respective Child Welfare Committee and State’s Social Justice Department to check IQ levels of all such kids and file a report by November 27. The bench also expressed its eagerness to visit this home after hearing about the progress of the children. “We would like to visit the home some day,” the bench said.
Bajpai is heading the HC-appointed State Coordination Committee for Child Protection (SCCCP) and is running a model project called ‘Project Chunauti’ for long-term rehabilitation of the kids.
The project includes rehabilitation of 93 children from the Mankhurd MDC, including 35 children rescued from the Adivasi Magaswargiya Krishi Vikas Sanstha-run shelter home at Kavdas at Shahpur and from the Panvel-based shelter run by the Kalyani Mahila Bal Seva Sanstha. The 12-year-old is a part of this project.
The kid was transferred to Mankhurd MDC Home from a normal home in 2009. However, he was sent to a school only last year under Project Chunauti for the first time and that too directly to second standard as he was already more than 10 years old at that time.
The kid is also said to be good in sports, likes cricket, skates within the compound of the home and has lots of friends among ‘normal children.’ Bajpai also pointed out to the court though all the children in their project were showing significant progress, they were still facing minor issues in the school, which could easily be removed by the state. The court directed the Social Justice department to make a list of such issues and submit it on the next date.
The court also directed the state to come up with a programme for long-term rehabilitation of inmates above 18 years of age in these homes. Bajpai pointed out there were several inmates aged above 18, but there was no vocational training given to them which could help in their rehabilitation.
The next hearing will be on November 27, when the state has also been directed to submit a compliance report of all the orders passed in the suo motu since inception.