Education of children who lost their parents to COVID-19 should continue without any disruption: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday stressed the need to support the children who have lost their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic and said education of such minors should continue without any disruption in the current academic year.

A Bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose said that there is an immediate need of making payments for the education of these children who are studying in private schools.

The Bench ordered the district magistrates to complete the process of approval of applications for children registered under the ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme so that those who have lost their parents or legal guardian due to the COVID-19 could get the benefit.

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During the hearing, the Central government informed the Bench that a separate portal has been created for the scheme and as of August 21 this year, 2,600 children have been registered on the portal by 30 states and Union Territories. Out of these 418 applications have been approved by the district magistrates, it added.

The apex court further said that in case of necessity, the fee and other expenditure of these 2600 children, shall be undertaken by the Centre.

The Bench said, “The state governments shall have a dialogue with the private schools to waive the fee for these students for the current academic year. In case, the schools are not willing to waive the fee, the state government shall bear the burden of the fee.”

It further said that it is open to the states to request the Centre to bear the fee and other expenses of these children who are studying in private schools for the current academic year.

The Central government told the top court that the education of children till 18 years is a part of the PM-CARES scheme for support and empowerment of pandemic-affected children.

The apex court was hearing suo motu matter on care and protection of children who have become orphans or have lost one parent or abandoned during the pandemic.

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