Survey of street children: HC summons senior officers

Many officials skipped a meeting convened by KSLSA to prepare for the survey

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday summoned senior officers of the police, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the State government on February 18 at 4.30 p.m. to ensure their cooperation in conducting a survey to identify street children in the city.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued the direction after noticing that several officers of the BBMP, the police and the State government failed to attend a recent meeting convened by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) to deliberate on the modalities of the survey.

H. Shashidhar Shetty, Member Secretary, KSLSA, in his report submitted to the court, has cited non-cooperation by officials while pointing out that assistance of BBMP and the police is essential for mapping street children.

It appears that nothing moves unless the court directs the officers, the bench orally observed while pointing out the need for proper cooperation and coordination to conduct the survey. The report also pointed out that only a few NGOs agreed to participate in the survey after being told that they have to render their service for a public cause.

The High Court, while hearing a PIL petition filed by Letzkit Foundation, had directed the KSLSA to conduct a survey of children selling toys, flowers, and other articles on streets after the BBMP and the government failed to take steps to collect the data to initiate measures for their education and welfare.

The KSLSA informed the bench that it had conducted several rounds of observations in 432 spots across the city where children are generally found selling these articles, and has counted 800 children, though their physical identification is yet to be done through the survey.

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