The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to ensure that all schools and hostels of educational institutions occupied by the Army and paramilitary forces are vacated within two months.
An order to this effect was passed by a bench comprising Justice B Sudarshan Reddy and Justice S S Nijjar during the hearing of the issue relating to the trafficking of 76 children from Manipur and Assam to Tamil Nadu.
While there was a specific direction to the ministry of home affairs to ensure that the schools and hostels are freed from the occupation of the Army and central paramilitary forces, the bench asked the HRD ministry to find out the list of schools occupied by the forces in the two states.
Further, the bench asked the ministry of development of north eastern region to hold meetings with the authorities of seven north eastern states on various aspects of development.
The directions were passed on the recommendations of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which was asked by the court to inquire into the trafficking
of children from Manipur and Assam to Tamil Nadu on the pretext of providing them better education.
The bench also asked the governments of Manipur, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka to respond to the recommendation of the NCPCR to shut down unregistered charitable houses running schools and hostels.
It asked the governments of Manipur and Assam to file an affidavit in response to the suggestions given by the NCPCR.
The court also accepted the plea of the NCPCR, seeking authority to review the matter with the state government. The bench posted the matter after two months.
The names of the 76 children were furnished by the Tamil Nadu government. They have been repatriated to their homes in the two north eastern states.
The court had asked the NCPCR to inquire into the matter on March 31, while hearing an application based on a media report about the recovery of 76 such children.
The Tamil Nadu government had earlier stated that the probe by the Kanyakumari superintendent of police has established that the 76 children from Manipur and Assam were brought to Tamil Nadu by one Reverend Paul from the north-eastern region, on the pretext of providing them better education.