In defiance of a Supreme Court order which requires all orphanages to be registered under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), close to 200 Muslim orphanages in Kerala are threatening to close down.
As reported by Daily Pioneer, Senior Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing the Kerala-based Yateem Khana Association, said that the Supreme Court order from May 2017, which required registering of all childcare institutes, was ‘contrary to the very nature and purpose of Yateem Khana’ which is to provide a home to those children who are either abandoned or stay away from their parents. Since Yateem Khanas are religious in nature and are the property of Waqf, the administration rests with the Waqf Board. Sibal argues that juvenile homes, on the other hand, are those in need of need of care or in conflict with the law and can even be taken up for adoption. If Yateem Khanas are registered under the JJ Act, they will lose their character and will run contrary to Muslim personal law which does not permit adoption.
The Bench, however, was offended by Sibal’s client who threatened to shut down orphanages, and said, “Such is your attitude that you suggest we have to close down and let the state look after the children. Show us how different are you than the JJ Act, are you providing facilities to children and how many are there in your institutions.”
Congress leaders have very vocally defended such practices and hesitated implementation of tough laws under the guise of protecting minority rights. Whether it is the implementation of Enemy Property Act or Juvenile Justice Act or defending people like Teesta Setalvad who is accused of embezzlement of funds meant for victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots.