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Court raps welfare department

Non-compliance with order on de-addiction centres invites wrath

NEW DELHI: In a stinging criticism of the Delhi Government's Social Welfare Department, a city court on Wednesday took serious view of its non-compliance of a direction to set up de-addiction centres at all juvenile observation homes in the Capital.

``Nothing can be more unfortunate. The basic function of the department is to work for welfare of children, women and weaker sections. Bureaucratic approach on such issues will only hamper effective rehabilitation of juveniles'', Juvenile Justice Board Principle Magistrate Santosh Snehi Mann said. The Magistrate gave the direction on May 2 after the mother of a minor boy addicted to smack and who was facing trial in a theft case told the court that his addiction had worsened after his stay at a Juvenile Observation Home for six months as there were no reformatory facilities there.

The Social Welfare Department, through its Joint Director Rashmi Singh submitted that ``setting up of de-addiction centres has to be an administrative decision based on proper assessment which has to be approved by the Planning and Finance Departments''. What invited the wrath of the court was that instead of taking steps to comply with the directive, the Department said ``if our position is not acceptable to the Board, we may be given an opportunity to file appeal against the order''.

The court said the measure was urgent as the number of cases where juveniles commit thefts because of their increasing addiction to drugs was rising. --PTI

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