No shelters for children with special needs in Pune, Bombay HC concerned

AutismThe court also directed the authorities to ensure that the six boys are shifted to Sasoon hospital in Pune. (AP)

Taking serious note of lack of shelter homes for children with special needs in Pune district, Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government and Commissioner For Persons With Disabilities to explain what steps are being taken to address the situation.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha passed the order earlier this week on a public interest litigation filed by the NGO Disability Rights Initiative about the condition of six destitute boys who were physically abused at a Yerwada mental facility.

According to the PIL, the boys were kept at the Yerwada facility near Pune which houses adult persons suffering from mental disorders. The children bore visible signs of fresh wounds and complained of alleged physical abused by a person identified as Mane.

"Apart from the issue raised in the petition...it also appears that there is no arrangement in place for children with special needs in Pune district," the bench said.

Last year, all four existing homes for special children - Shriram Development and Rehabilitation Centre in Daund, Anand Mahila Balkalyan Sanstha in Shirur, Jijamata Shikshan Prasarak Mandal and Sankalp Trust in Donje - were closed down by the government for serious violations of rules.

"We direct the respondents (state government, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and others) to submit a report by November 27 indicating the steps being taken and (that had) been taken for ensuring availability of homes for special children in Pune district," the court said.

The court also directed the authorities to ensure that the six boys are shifted to Sasoon hospital in Pune.

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