Shimla, March 23 (IANS) Moved by the plight of an orphaned girl who was sexually exploited by her uncle and gave birth to a child in a hospital here, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Saturday directed the state to take care of the duo.
“Ours is a welfare state and it’s the duty cast upon the state to take all necessary steps towards the welfare, care and protection of the mother and baby since she is unable to protect herself,” said a division bench of Acting Chief Justice R.B. Misra and Justice Rajiv Sharma said.
They said the government “is within its duty to protect the girl, who is under disability being minor”.
“The director of the social justice and women empowerment department is directed to provide the day-to-day necessities of life to the mother and baby,” the bench said.
Taking a humane stand, the judges said: “In case any family is ready and willing to adopt the baby, all the codal formalities in accordance with law, shall be completed within shortest period not more than two months.”
They also directed the district welfare officer in Shimla to visit the mother and baby after every 48 hours.
The court directed the state to register a first information report against the uncle of the girl. It took up the case on its own after the news appeared in a Hindi daily March 8.
“A question of great sensitivity and public importance has been raised in the news item. A girl aged 13 years was sexually exploited by her close relation. She gave birth to a baby (girl) in hospital. Mother is not in a position to look after the baby, being of tender age. She is an orphan. In these circumstances, the entire society is required to take care of the mother and her baby,” the bench observed.
The court list the matter for next hearing March 28.