SRINAGAR: The 2-day State Roundtable Conference on implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act concluded at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) here on Sunday.
On the second day of the roundtable conference, the working groups comprising judges, judicial officers, lawyers, police officials and social activists identified the problems, challenges and issues in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and came up with their suggestions.
During the deliberations, participants stressed the need to rope in ICDS, ICPS, anganwari workers, volunteers, village level workers, social workers and other stakeholders and utilize their services to identify vulnerable children who need attention of the society.
A statement issued by the information department said that the groups also called for setting up permanent infrastructure in every district of J&K for which state or the centre can provide the land or compensation for acquiring land to develop infrastructure including Children’s Homes and Observation Homes.
The participants stressed the need to have an interim arrangement for immediate implementation of Juvenile Justice Act vis-a-vis vesting of such powers to District Magistrates. Experts said there is absence of competent authority to deal with CNCP.
Experts also called for the need to conduct a survey by outreach workers including Anganwari workers and other NGOs besides involving academicians to conduct baseline research regarding the condition of juveniles and identification of the issues and problems faced by the juveniles in respective areas.
The working groups further suggested that there should be exclusive and dedicated cadres in Police, Judiciary and Social Welfare for Child Protection Functions besides regular interface between concerned departments and allied services.
The participants said there is lack of individualized rehabilitation mechanism in CCI’s and called for creating safe spaces for dialogue in educational institutions to identify the problems of the juveniles besides working on capacity building to ensure individualized social investigation reports.
While calling for synergy between Judiciary, Police and Administration, experts also stressed on the formulation of plan of action through a participatory process and convergence at State and District levels with definite timelines.
During the conference the experts also called for a separate legal aid cell at the Police Station Level and a separate exclusive panel of lawyers for matters relating to juveniles in conflict with law besides providing legal training to the staff so that they can have basic knowledge about the juvenile rights band enable them to provide assistance at the initial stage.
Speaking during the valedictory function, Chief Guest, Justice Madan B Lokur, Supreme Court Judge, expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the two day conference and said that the conference has been able to bring all the stakeholders together to work for the effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act-2013.
He said all the stakeholders have been able to sit together to identify the problems, challenges and issues and worked together to come up with solutions. He said the success of the conference is that all stakeholders introspected and accepted their shortcomings and in the end resolved to remove all the bottlenecks to implement the Act effectively. He said the J&K High Court must be complimented for being successful in this endeavour.
Justice Lokur called upon all the stake holders to work in tandem to set up Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, Advisory Boards and Observation Homes at earliest which are a prerequisite for the implementation of the Act. HE said all the suggestions need to be taken care of by all the stakeholders that will help them while dealing with the juveniles.
The Supreme Court Judge who is also Chairman, Juvenile Justice Committee Supreme Court of India, appealed the media to play their role in sensitizing the society regarding juvenile issues. He said there are so many good things happening around which are not being reported. He said Media can play important role in debating issues like that of Juveniles and provide suggestions and solutions to the government that will help us to make a conducive and favourable environment for the juveniles.
Chief Justice J&K High Court, Badar Durrez Ahmed while speaking on the occasion said all stake holders who participated in the conference must take a snapshot of it and chalk out a plan and make their aims and objectives for future actions to be taken for effective implementation of Juvenile Justice Act.
He stressed on the Police and other law enforcing agencies to be extra cautious and sensitive while dealing with the juveniles. He said we need to apprehend rule of law through Juvenile’s Point of View adding that for a juvenile it is irrepressible loss for a innocent kid if arrested without any sin or crime.
Chief Justice also called for greater awareness with regard to the sensitization of the people regarding juvenile issues. He 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. He said the judiciary has played vital role in sensitizing all the stake holders by bringing them together and in identifying workable solutions in order to trigger changes at the ground level.
Chief Secretary, BB Vyas while speaking on the occasion said holding of this conference which is dedicated to our future (Children) is significant, critical and timely.
He said through the advancement of knowledge particularly with regard to the theology of crime has lead to a better collective understanding of entire issue of juvenile delinquency and punishment. HE said there is entire shift in attitude from more punitive approach to an approach of assistance and rehabilitation in societies and communities and hence we are expected to define the responses to such crime and focus on the interventions in criminal judicial system with regard to the juveniles in conflict with law.
Vyas said he strongly believe that interests of child must remain at the core and heart of our re-integration program and also believe that children in conflict with law should be considered as victims rather than perpetrators of such crime.
He said the state is facing problems at various fronts especially the scars inflicted by the obtaining circumstances of over three decades have made the challenges far more complex than ever before. He said the children have more severely been affected by these circumstances across the last three decades and vulnerability of juveniles have increased many fold as a consequence of such a long abnormal situation and the response by the society has been far inadequate than required.
Referring to the outcome of the conference, Chief Secretary said there is a good opportunity to learn from this interaction to build upon what was suggested by the experts to enhance and upgrade our implementation strategy. He said the suggestions will help the government in moving forward for the effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. Executive Chairman J&K State Legal Services act also spoke on the occasion and discussed various initiatives taken with regard to the rehabilitation and re-integration of the juveniles in conflict with law and the sensitization and awareness programs carried out by the cell. EH said the State Legal Services will ensure every possible support if any person including juveniles in need of legal aid and no one will be deprived of that.
Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta, member Juvenile Justice Committee, J&K High Court during his address called upon all the stakeholders to work in synergy to come up with an effective and conducive atmosphere for juveniles. He said the welfare of the children should be priority of every stakeholder.
Special DG VK Sing also spoke on the occasion and assured that every measure will be taken by the JK Police Department being the first responders to provide a conducive environment for juveniles.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, Chairman Juvenile Justice Committee , JK High Court presented vote of thanks and said that the conference will act as a bench mark in the history of the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act 2013 in the J&K State.