SC Issues notice on NCPCR’s plea for SIT probe into allegations of selling children by Missionaries of Charity

Ranchi (Jharkhand) – The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Government of Jharkhand on a plea filed by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) alleging selling of children in the charity homes run by the Missionaries of Charity. The Commission, being a statutory body, approached the SC in their capacity as parens patriae of the aggrieved children.

The petitioner seeks a court-monitored probe through the constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the workings of such organisations in a time-bound manner. Through the plea filed by Adv. Swarupama Chaturvedi, NCPCR alleged that the Jharkhand Government was following a ‘callous approach’ in protecting children against child rights violations so the fundamental right of prohibiting human trafficking, under Article 23, could be enforced. The Commission also prays for directions to set up an SIT not only in Jharkhand but in every State.

Additionally, directions have been sought to ensure all States and Union territories facilitate and cooperate with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in going about with their work smoothly. Accordingly, the Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde issued notice to the Governments of Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala as well.

NCPCR further informs that it took suo motu cognizance of media reports, specifically one in Indian Express dated 6.7.2018 according to which a Sister from Missionaries of Charity was arrested for alleged illegal child trade. In light of other media reports about irregularities in the charity homes run by the organisation set up by Mother Teresa, the Commission informs that it wrote to the State authorities, recommended they initiate an inquiry, but their responses regarding inquiry and findings thereof were unsatisfactory.