w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Santhosha Nanban Home for Boys, Rep by its Superintendent Dorothy Marry v/s Union of India, Rep by The Chief Secretary to Government, Government of Puducherry, Chief Secretariat, Puducherry & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- AT HOME INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U17211DL2001PTC112255

Company & Directors' Information:- V HOME PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL2001PTC109331

Company & Directors' Information:- G. P. HOME PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U70102MH2011PTC213056

    W.P. No. 7462 of 2020 & W.M.P. Nos. 8894 & 8895 of 2020

    Decided On, 17 April 2020

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. SUNDAR

    For the Petitioner: M. Gnanasekar, Advocate. For the Respondents: J. Kumaran, Addl. G.P. (Puducherry), A.V. Ramalingam, Addl.G.P. (Puducherry).



Judgment Text


(Prayer: Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus calling for records pertaining to order of third respondent dated 06.04.2020 made in No.9524/DWCD/UTPCPS/Proceedings/CCIs/2020-21 and to quash the same and consequently restraining respondents 1 to 4 from interfering with the functioning of petitioner's home viz., Santhosha Nanban Home for Boys functioning at No.74/2, Near Pondy Pipe Company, Olavaikkal, Villiyanur, Puducherry-605 110 and Santhosha Nanban Home for Girls, functioning at No.48, Car Street, Koodapakkam, Villiyanur, Puducherry and pass such further or other orders to meet the ends of justice and thus render justice.)

1. 'Order dated 06.04.2020 bearing reference No.9524 / DWCD / UTPCPS / Proceedings / CCIs/ 2020-21' came to be made by third respondent (hereinafter 'impugned order' for the sake of brevity).

2. Impugned order, according to third respondent, (as articulated in the impugned order itself) has been made under section 41(7) read with section 53 of 'The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (Act 2 of 2016)' (hereinafter referred to as 'JJ Act' for the sake of brevity) read with Rules 23(7), 24(1)(2)(c), 24(3) of 'Puducherry Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2017' (hereinafter referred to as 'Puducherry JJ Rules' for brevity). In and by the impugned order, two homes which are described as 'Orphanages' run by writ petitioner were ordered to be closed with immediate effect. To be noted, this court is informed that one home is for boys and the other home is for girls. This court is also informed that the two homes have a capacity of 40 children each.

3. Owing to aforesaid backdrop, this writ petition was moved stating that this writ petition falls in extremely urgent matters category. Considering welfare of children (inmates), a web hearing by video conference platform was permitted and web hearing on a video conference platform was held today (17.04.2020).

4. Mr.M.Gnanasekar, learned counsel for writ petitioner and Mr.J.Kumaran, learned Additional Government Pleader (Puducherry) along with Mr.A.V.Ramalingam, learned Additional Government Pleader (Puducherry) on behalf of all four respondents were before me in the web hearing. To be noted, there are four respondents in instant writ petition and all four respondents are official respondents.

5. As all parties to this writ petition are represented by learned counsel, with consent of both sides, main writ petition was taken up, heard out and is being disposed of by this order.

6. Considering the nature and scope on which instant writ petition now turns in the light of trajectory of the hearing today, it may not be necessary to set out facts in great detail. In other words, it may not be necessary to dilate on facts in detail. Suffice to say that writ petitioner is running two homes (orphanages), one for boys and the other for girls, as mentioned supra. The homes for boys is functioning at No.74/2, Near Pondy Pipe Company, Olavaikkal, Villianur and the girls home is functioning at No.48, Car Street, Koodapakkam, Villianur.

7. Third respondent vide impugned order says that the aforementioned two homes were inspected on 05.04.2020. At the time of inspection, certain deficiencies (enlisted in impugned order) were noticed and on this basis, exercising powers under Section 41(7) read with section 53 of JJ Act and under Rules 23(7), 24(1)(2)(c) and 24(3) of Puducherry JJ Rules, aforementioned two homes were ordered to be closed forthwith.

8. Though several grounds have been raised in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, in the hearing one point that was projected as primordial point is that impugned order has been passed without giving any opportunity or notice to the writ petitioner. In other words, to put in legal parlance, the short point urged is that impugned order has been passed in violation of principles of natural justice, i.e., being passed without notice / opportunity to writ petitioner.

9. As alluded to supra, a perusal of the impugned order reveals that inspection itself was conducted only on 05.04.2020 and impugned order has been passed on the very next day, i.e., 06.04.2020. There is also no disputation or disagreement before me regarding notice or opportunity not being given to the writ petitioner before passing the impugned order.

10. Learned State counsel submitted that State has a sanctus duty to ensure rehabilitation and reintegration of children. In short, learned State counsel emphasised that it is responsibility of the State to safeguard the interest of children / inmates of homes and that action was taken and impugned order came to be passed only in that spirit.

11. In the light of the aforesaid submissions, this court perused the JJ Act and noticed that section 3 of JJ Act makes it mandatory / statutorily imperative to follow certain general principles in administration of JJ Act. An adumbration of these general principles has been made in section 3 of JJ Act and section 3 of JJ Act is captioned 'General principles to be followed in administration of Act'. Sub-clause (xvi) of section 3 captioned 'Principles of natural justice' is of utmost relevance and therefore, the same is extracted and reproduced infra. Section 3(xvi) reads as follows:

'3. General principles to be followed in administration of Act.--The Central Government, the State Governments, the Board, and other agencies, as the case may be, while implementing the provisions of this Act shall be guided by the following fundamental principles, namely:--

(i) to (xv) x x x x x x x

(xvi) Principles of natural justice: Basic procedural standards of fairness shall be adhered to, including the right to a fair hearing, rule against bias and the right to review, by all persons or bodies, acting in a judicial capacity under this Act.'

12. As it has been made statutorily imperative in the JJ Act itself, it becomes clear as day light that third respondent which has passed impugned order under JJ Act ought to have followed principles of natural justice. Law is well settled that principles of natural justice is predicated and posited primarily on the time honoured audi alteram partem doctrine. To put it differently, writ petitioner ought to have been given notice, writ petitioner ought to have been called upon to give explanation and thereafter, a decision should have been taken one way or the other after considering writ petitioner's version also.

13. In the light of narrative and discussion thus far, this court is of the considered view that instant writ petition can be disposed of on the short point of principles of natural justice not being followed.

14. Therefore, following order is passed by consent:

(a) Impugned order being order dated 06.04.2020 bearing reference No.9524 / DWCD / UTPCPS / Proceedings / CCIs/ 2020-21 made by third respondent is set aside solely on the ground of principles of natural justice not being followed.

(b) It follows axiomatically that this court has not expressed any opinion / view one way or the other on the merits of the matter.

(c) Owing to the prevailing unusual, unexpected and unprecedented situation (Covid 19 situation) caused by a pandemic, it would be appropriate to direct third respondent to issue notice to writ petitioner, call for writ petitioner's version, thereby give a reasonable opportunity to writ petitioner and pass orders after taking into account writ petitioner's version, within one month from the date of complete lifting of present lock down by Government of Puducherry.

(d) Learned State counsel on instructions submitted that inmates of girls home have already been moved to another home run by a 'Non Governmental Organization' (NGO) 'Udavi Karangal Girls Home, located at T.N.Palayam, Puducherry. It is submitted that this home is recognised by Government of Puducherry. Therefore, the girl children will continue to be in this home, i.e., Udavi Karangal Girls Home located at T.N.Palayam, Puducherry, to which they have been shifted, till a decision is taken in the aforesaid manner. Though obvious, it is made clear that whether they continue to be there will obviously depend on outcome and finality of this exercise.

(e) Respondents shall ensure that children are safe and secure in accordance with the salutary principles and sublime philosophy underlying JJ Act.

(f) Learned State counsel on instructions very fairly submitted that inmates in the boys home run by writ petitioner continue to be in writ petitioner's home, i.e., Santhosha Nanban Home for Boys, fu

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nctioning at No.74/2, Near Pondy Pipe Company, Olavaikkal, Villianur. Boys will continue to be in writ petitioner's home till a decision is taken. Though obvious, it is made clear that whether they continue to be there will obviously depend on outcome and finality of this exercise. (g) Writ petitioner also shall ensure adherence to salutary principles and sublime philosophy underlying JJ Act and respondents shall extend all necessary cooperation (without taking any adversarial position) owing to the prevailing Covid 19 situation. (h) Order to be passed by third respondent in the aforesaid manner within aforesaid time frame shall be duly communicated to writ petitioner under proper and due acknowledgment within 5 (five) working days from the date of the order. 15. Impugned order is set aside and the writ petition is disposed of on above terms. There shall be no order as to costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.
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