The Gujarat High Court has noted the absence of nutritious food and dilapidated infrastructure of the State Women Shelter Homes. It has directed the concerned authorities to file an affidavit with relevant information regarding functioning and budgetary allocation of the institution.
The present division bench was dealing with a Habeas Corpus matter wherein the corpus, a pregnant minor girl, was presented before the Court. The corpus had been instated in the Women Protection Home, Kutchh as she was neither inclined to reunite with her parents nor wished to terminate the four-month pregnancy. The Court did not receive any complaint regarding the shelter home; however, on inquiry, it inferred the prevalent state of affairs.
Therefore, the bench observed the facts and has ordered measures to ensure the welfare of the housed women and girls.
The Court noted that the food provided daily did not pay much regard to any nutritive value. It is a well-established fact that the protection home houses many pregnant females or women with children. Thus, they would need utmost care, medical treatment and nutritive diet, to begin with. Moreover, the pathetic condition of infrastructure also warrants for indulgence and action from the concerned authorities.
Further, the bench has referred to the observations made in a similar case dealing with reformation or inclusion of healthy practices in Women Shelter Homes. The slew of directions obligated authorities to arrange for formal education or vocational training for the girls. It also included arrangements of experienced f=counsellor for mental health and emotional well-being. The funds, for the same, were to be arranged by a contribution from the District Legal Services Authority. Therefore, the directions in the present a matter shall be complementary to the previous order of the High Court.
The order was pronounced by the division bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Nirzar Desai. The Court has directed the Principal Secretary, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and Department of Women and Child Department to depute a senior official on the present matter. The official shall evaluate the mechanism and implement the reforms after intimating the Court. Further, it remarked, “Let the same be furnished in the form of affidavit bearing in mind that it is not adversarial litigation and it is for the welfare of those girls who are directed to be housed there and for whose benefits, these homes are in existence.”
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