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Children Creche in Supreme Court hits litigation wall

Children in SC
Children in SC
October,12, 2015 – Supreme Court has sought the view of its Registry and the Supreme Court Bar Association on a petition which among others complained that the day care being set up for the benefit of lawyers with small kids did not have adequate facilities and the in-charge was not adequately qualified.

 Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N V Ramana have given the notice for the  time being only  limited to the plea for extending the age limit of kids who can be admitted to the day care to six from existing two years and also wanted the facilities to be extended free. At present the charges are Rs 5,000 per month.

Senior Lawyer Indira Jaigingh contended  that  “The circular issued by the court on June 28 by the court with regard to the setting up of a crèche is unreasonable and highly inadequate to effectively deal with effective child care hence the present writ petition for enforcement of the  fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 14, 19 (1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution, and seeking quashing of the circular/ notices providing for half hearted measures for child care”, said a petition filed by lawyer Anindita Pujari who wanted to get her kid  admitted to the crèche. .

She futher argued that , “There is no rationale as to why the age group is restricted to 6 months to two years, as children above the age group of 2 also require care and attention, particularly girls in view of the abuse and exploitation of  children in Delhi. Moreover Article 45, of the Constitution, provides that the State shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years”.

This Hon’ble Court on the administrative side, issued a recruitment notice, dated 10.6.2015 inviting applications for the job of Crèche In charge, and for the job of Helper in the Child care Centre ( Crèche) to be set up at the premises of the court. The recruitment notice to the utter shock and surprise of the Petitioner, called for applications to the above mentioned posts purely on contractual basis.

Moreover the notice did not provide for any specialized knowledge or experience in child care/ child psychology/ child nutrition and only required the candidate applying for the post of crèche in-charge to be minimum 10th pass, having fluency in Hindi and working knowledge of English, having been trained in Child Care ( without specifying the nature of training) or 2-3 years experience of handling 4-5 infants at a time. Moreover the upper age limit for candidates is capped at 40 years. The Helper as provided in the notice should be minimum 8th pass and should have a pleasant disposition and understanding of sanitation and hygiene issues of infants and a positive attitude to work with infants and young children, capping the upper age limit at 35 years” Jaising suggested.

SCBA FOLLOWS UP

Following the court notice, SCBA Secretary Aishwarya Bhati wrote to SC Secretary General saying: “I request you kindly consider making the crèche operational as it is completely ready so that at least desirous Members can avail of the facility.

Improvements and up-gradation is always an ongoing process and therefore, facility should not be stalled to await a better facility and upgraded space in future.  In any case, notice of Hon’ble  Court is limited to two issues specified above  and no stay has been granted by the Hon’ble Court.Further, the new building construction in front of Court Room Nos.8-10 is clearly behind the schedule and running late and therefore, we should not wait for expansion/extension of crèche facility in this block and open the existing crèche facility to the Members of the Bar”.

 The SCBA had got a thumbs up for the proposal for crèche from Chief Justice of India H L Dattu. At a meeting on January 7, chief justice H L Dattu had assured all help to the SCBA in opening the creche in the court complex as soon as possible.

 This is a first of its kind initiative by the Supreme Court and its lawyers, and is seen as a reform aimed at extending professional longevity of women lawyers.An annual corpus of Rs 1 crore, which was saved by the court by discontinuing its practice of printing daily cause-lists, was used to set up and maintain the creche with appropriate staff and amenities.

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