‘Set up juvenile justice boards, child welfare committees, advisory boards and observation homes’
SRINAGAR: Justice Madan B Lokur, Judge Supreme Court of India today inaugurated 2-day State Roundtable Conference on Implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)Act 2013 at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) here.
The Conference is being jointly organized by Juvenile Justice Committee of the Supreme Court of India and Juvenile Justice Committee of JK High Court and supported by UNICEF.
Speaking on the occasion Justice Lokur stressed the need to implement J&K Juvenile Justice Act -2013 in letter and spirit and called upon all the stakeholders to work in tandem to set up Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, Advisory Boards and Observation Homes which are a prerequisite for the effective implementation of the Act.
He said children are the future of society and it is duty of the society to take care of juveniles. He said the children who are in conflict with the law need to be counseled, rehabilitated and reintegrated with the society.
Justice Lokur said the J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 is a robust effective and responsive legislative framework for children who are in need of care and protection as well as children in conflict with the law. He said the approach of the executive and the judicial system should be aimed at addressing the vulnerabilities of the children and ensuring their rehabilitation.
He also called for addressing the shortcomings in the Act for its effective implementation. He said the Act is still in infancy in the state and J&K has enough lessons to learn from other states who have already implemented similar laws and learn from the shortcomings in the other states to rectify their own. Justice Lokur said during the two day conference experts will discuss issues and problems that come forward during effective implementation of the Act. He said the conference will help to come up with the solutions and a roadmap to move forward for its timely and effective implementation.
Chief Justice J&K High Court Badar Durrez Ahmed while speaking on the occasion said the law enforcing agencies need to be extra cautious and sensitive in J&K while dealing with the Juveniles as the children in state have been brought up in a very violent atmosphere that has affected their mental as well as the physical growth. He said the juveniles have to be treated differently and the one dealing with juveniles should have great understanding and extra sensitive towards the children.
Stating that the children are the backbone of human civilization and shall shape its destiny in future, J&K Chief Justice said regardless of the political, economic or social philosophy of a government, welfare of the children is of the utmost importance and must be given top priority.
While identifying that in the disturbed socio-political climate of J&K, the problem is magnified; Chief Justice stressed on the state government to adopt effective and proactive measures to, not only rehabilitate the juveniles who do come into conflict with law, but also prevent juveniles from coming into conflict with the law.
He said the judiciary has played vital role in sensitizing all the stakeholders by bringing them together and in identifying workable solutions in order to trigger changes at the ground level.
In his welcome address Chairman J&K Juvenile Justice Board Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said though the Juvenile Justice Act is intact in the state, still we are struggling to realize the dream of setting up of child friendly institutions. He said the state has to contemplate the legal response with respect to two categories of children including those who are in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection. He said to achieve the objectives of the Act there is dire need for creation of institutions including Juvenile Justice Boards, Childcare Institutions, Special Juvenile Justice Police Units etc.
Justice Magrey pinned hope upon the two-day conference that it will sensitize all the stakeholders, particularly the state departments and hoped that a strong will power will emerge for creation of physical framework in support of the juvenile justice system in the state.
Chief Child Protection UNICEF India, Javier Aguilar while speaking during the inaugural session said the UNICEF is committed to work with the existing systems to ensure rights of the children especially their protection from various forms of abuse, exploitation, neglect, discrimination and any form of violence. He said UNICEF has made a modest beginning with the State government, judiciary, academia, civil society and other stakeholders. He said efforts are underway to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated system is established in the state in order to ensure children have access to justice, services and support as guaranteed under constitution of J&K and various other special laws applicable to the state.