The Madhya Pradesh Court criticized the Child Welfare Committee, Alirajpur for their arbitrary actions, stating that they had acted in excess of their powers prescribed under Juvenile Justice Care & Protection of Children Act, 2015.

In this case parents of 16 children, filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, seeking the release of their children who had been allegedly rescued by the Child Welfare Committee, Alirajpur. The Committee had taken the children into custody on the grounds that the hostel where they were staying was not in compliance with Sections 41 and 42 of the Act.

A Bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar held, “In such fact and circumstances of the case, this Court is inclined to allow the present petition and is of the considered opinion that the provisions of Sections 41 and 42 of the Act of 2015 cannot be invoked in the facts and circumstances of the case and the children were unnecessarily being harassed by the respondents No.4, 5 & 6 and, it appears that they have acted in excess of their powers prescribed under the Act of 2015, they are also directed to act cautiously in future, and any lapse on their part shall make them personally liable for their acts.”

Advocate Rajesh Joshi appeared for the Petitioners and Advocate Koustubh Pathak appeared for the Respondents.

The counsel for the petitioners argued that Sections 41 and 42 of the Act did not apply in this case, as the children were neither in conflict with the law nor in need of care and protection as defined under the Act.

The Court agreed with the petitioners' counsel, stating that the Act's provisions were meant for children in conflict with the law or those in need of care and protection, which did not apply to the present case. The Court noted that there was no evidence of mistreatment of the children in the hostel and criticized the respondents for their arbitrary actions. The Court added, “A perusal of the aforesaid provisions clearly reveals that they are meant for the children and institutions prescribed under Sections 41 & 42 of the Act, and thus, are in respect of the children who are either in conflict with law or the children who are in need of care and protection. Similarly, the provisions of Section 2 (13) and (14) are also not applicable in the present case as none of the ingredients of both the sub[1]sections are present in the impugned order Annexure P/1.”

The Court directed the respondents to release the children to their respective parents after due verification within a week's time. Additionally, the District Magistrate of Alirajpur was instructed to ensure that the children would not face any adverse consequences in their schools due to the improper actions of the respondents, and no coercive action should be taken against them by their respective schools.

Cause Title: Digvijay Singh & Ors. v. The State Of Madhya Pradesh Department Of Women And Child Development & Ors.

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