Srinagar: The J&K high court has directed commissioner secretary social welfare department to appear in person in connection with the constitution of juvenile justices boards in the state.
The direction by the court’s division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Janak Raj Kotwal followed submissions by Additional Advocate General Shahbaz Sikander that commissioner secretary social welfare department, who was to appear before the court, has been transferred.
“The person transferred and posted as commissioner secretary SWD to appear in person on next date (of hearing),” the court said, hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a Haryana-based social worker, Tanvi Ahuja, seeking among others directions for constitution of juvenile justice boards (JJBs) in the state.
Last month, the then Commissioner Secretary SWD had informed the court that the matter regarding appointment of Principal Magistrate for the JJBs at District Level was taken up by the Law Department with Registrar General of the high court. The Registrar in turn has informed that Judicial Magistrates are being imparted necessary training by the state judicial academy.
The judicial magistrates, one in each district, shall be nominated as principal magistrates under Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act.
Last year, the court had directed the government to constitute the JJBs by December 28, observing that the purpose of enacting Juvenile Justice Act in the state “stands frustrated” due non-compliance of the legislation.
“One of the essential purpose of legislating laws is to reintegrate the children who are in conflict with laws and who need care and protection within society,” the court had observed and directed the government to comply with provisions of the J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 and Rules of 2014.
The state enacted the Act in 2013 and as per its Chapter-II, the Juvenile Justice Board shall consist of a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class to be appointed by the High Court and be designated Principal Magistrates and two social workers as members, one of whom must be a woman.
Meanwhile, senior Additional Advocate General NA Beigh submitted that authorities of GB Pant hospital have complied with court’s March 15 order and the two abandoned infants with birth defects are being looked after properly in the hospital.