Bombay HC questions govt quota in jobs for orphaned kids

Times of India | 1 week ago | 25-11-2022 | 06:41 am

Bombay HC questions govt quota in jobs for orphaned kids

MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Thursday questioned a State government circular that provides reservation in employment for orphaned children. “Anyone below 18 years cannot be employed. Can a child be made to work? That means you (State) are promoting child labour,” said chief justice Dipankar Datta who led a bench with Justice Abhay Ahuja. They heard a PIL by two activists – Amruta Karwande and Rahul Kamble – to quash and set aside the state women and child welfare department’s August 23, 2021 government resolution that divided orphans between 0-18 years into three categories to avail of 1% reservation in education and employment. The first category comprises orphans with no information about parents, siblings, relatives, caste, etc and who are brought up by a home/orphanage. The second category includes children whose parents have died but relatives are alive, caste is known and are brought up in an orphanage. Third, where parents have died, children are brought up by relatives and caste is known. The petition said under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015, an orphan is defined as a child who is without biological or adoptive parents or legal guardian or whose legal guardian is not willing or capable of taking care of the child. Under the Right to Information, the petitioners learnt that the third category availed maximum benefits in most districts. Stating that the third category availing benefits of orphans as well as backward classes reservations has resulted in inequality, they urged that this category be struck out. They also sought framing of guidelines in consonance with the Act so that “true deserving orphan candidates can seek benefit only through the orphan reservation and not any other category. ” The judges asked why reservation in employment for orphans has not been challenged. “Can a contract be signed with a minor?” the CJ asked. The state’s advocate Reena Salunkhe referred to the GR’s objective of enabling such children to avail of concessions. The judges asked her to take instructions and file a reply and allowed the petitioners’ advocate Metanshu Purandare to amend the petition to challenge the reservation.

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