New Delhi, December 1: The national child rights body Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that children from shelter homes will be sent back to their parents only after following the provisions of law and not compulsorily.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) informed the top court that an earlier notice it issued to Karnataka and seven other states, ordering compulsory repatriation, had been cancelled, NDTV reported.

On October 9, the Supreme Court had sought a response from NCPCR, taking note of the body’s letter directing eight states to ensure the children’s return to their families. These states accounted for over 70 per cent of children in care homes.

“The NCPC letter is contrary to law provisions. It cannot order repartition of children from homes. As per the law, only Child Welfare Committees can decide on repatriation on a case-to-case basis. Children at homes have faced domestic abuse, child labour, child marriages, trafficking and they need care and protection,” Advocate Gaurav Agrawal had said, bringing the NCPCR’s letter to the top court’s notice. Agrawal is the court’s advisor in the matter related to the child rights body’s notice to the states.

Today, Solicitor General Tushar Metha told the Supreme Court that the NCPC’s earlier letter had now been set aside. Children from shelter homes will be examined by a panel according to per law before repatriation, he said.

Following this, the bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta, and Ajay Rastogi disposed of the matter.

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