Delhi HC examines if Anganwadi workers can help Covid-orphaned kids

ILNS: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday accepted Amicus Curiae Rajshekhar Rao’s suggestion that advertisements sensitizing people working as frontline warriors towards the plight of children who have been orphaned in the Covid pandemic, or whose parents are both in hospital, should be made in several languages.

The bench is hearing pleas related to the disaster that the Capital is seeing through the collapse of systems during the second surge of the pandemic. Replying to Rao’s suggestion that sensitization on the issue should not just be in English, the court said in Delhi at least, it should be in Hindi and English.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, the Delhi counsel, assured the court that all forms of media are being used.

Said Rao: “There are a lot of children, from all over the spectrum, not only from well-off backgrounds.”

Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur made a suggestion about child help lines.

Regarding the workers who could help out in this, Rao said “There are about 15-16,000 Anganwadi workers and 72 child care institutions that can be roped in.”

Advocate Kaur: “Our suggestion was if some of these homes can be designated for children, especially for street children, who may not have anywhere to go for testing, no homes.”

On Anganwadi workers, advocate Kaur said: “These are volunteers, have special training. Not sure whether they were activated to help in Covid-19 pandemic – there is nothing (data) available… Can be activated.”

The court asked advocate Kaur if all details are contained in her note. She said yes.

Kaur explained that the officers working on Covid know these people are on the ground, but do not know how to approach them.

Kaur brought out another issue: “While ads are being made for people (children) orphaned on account of Covid-19, there are also children who are in hospitals, whose parents are not able to help.”

The court directed that the advertisement has to be properly worded. Advocate Kaur said an advertisement can be prepared in English and Hindi today and the court asked for it to be shared with the court as well.

This will be done tomorrow, said Kaur.

Amicus Rao referred to another set of children: “One category which almost always gets left behind is children with special needs,” he said. “By next week, if they (the workers) can be given an indication of what all has happened on the ground, most of these should have had an action plan.”
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