File photo of Madras High Court.
Chennai: The Madras High Court on Saturday suggested service organisations running orphanages shed the term ‘orphanage’ and instead call themselves home for children.
Justice S Nagamuthu, making observations while passing orders on a civil dispute over a 2.09-acre plot of land at Korattur in Chennai, said “words such as orphan and orphanage should disappear from English dictionary”.
The judge also directed G Elumalai and S Gopal, real estate dealers, to pay Rs 16,000 each to Varadhappa Choultry Orphanage near Chennai for their involvement in creating false land documents. The amount will be used for stitching dresses for inmates of the home.
“Children who have been neglected by their parents and relatives and children who have lost their parents are only children in need of care and protection”, the judge observed.
“The state has a constitutional obligation to assure them a dignified life. It is true that this task has been undertaken by a number of organisations established by pious and service-oriented people. But many of these organisations, unfortunately or inadvertently, given themselves the name as orphanages,” the judge said.
The judge found that a fraudulent claim based on concocted records had been made on the ownership and possession of the land, leading to prolonged litigation.
He said the duo should be made to face criminal proceedings for furnishing false records, but added that he would instead make them pay the cost for having wasted valuable time of courts.
Counsel for the actual owner of the property suggested the cost be paid in favour of either legal services authority or an orphanage. Counsel for the erring duo too agreed to the suggestion.
Using the term orphanage might create a sense of insecurity and a feeling of loneliness in the minds of children. Noting that they are experiencing depressed thoughts and feelings, the judge said “we should not add to their depression by calling them as orphans.”
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