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New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought details from the Centre on the funding of children’s homes across the country and also on their audit status.

Hearing a suo moto case on the condition of children protection homes in the country in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, a bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat directed the amicus curiae, advocate Gaurav Agarwal, to file an affidavit detailing the good practices adopted by all the states, which would help in passing a uniform order on the issue.

The top court also directed the Centre to bring on record a note on the utilisation of funds and the subsequent audits on the same. The bench asked Agarwal to prepare a note and circulate it among all the state governments.

The top court took note of the matter after 35 children tested positive for Covid-19 at a government-run shelter home in Chennai. The court had sought a status report from the state government, and asked it to explain the reasons behind the spread of the viral infection, and also the measures taken to control it.

During the hearing on the matter on Tuesday, the bench noted that it was the responsibility of the state governments to take care of the children, and instead of focusing individually on health, education etc., it will pass a common order.

Agarwal contended before the bench that the funding pattern was 60:40, where a major chunk of funds came from the state governments.

The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on August 13.

In April, the top court had issued directions to state governments and authorities concerned to take urgent measures to prevent Covid-19 outbreak in child care institutions (CCIs).

The bench had directed the states to give directives to the concerned secretary and the health ministry of the state governments to submit status reports regarding the issue of the spread of coronavirus in the shelter homes, and also detail the steps taken to provide adequate healthcare to the infected children.

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