NEW DELHI: Observing that “passing interest” is being shown in the welfare of children, the Supreme Court of India has directed all states including Jammu and Kashmir to work for establishment of Juvenile Justice Boards and fourteen other issues relating to the benefits of children.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the Juvenile Justices Boards are yet to be established despite repeated directions by the state’s high court.
“We must record that we are somewhat dissatisfied with the response that we have received from the State Governments and Union Territories which appear to have shown only a passing interest in the welfare of children under their care and protection,” a division bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and RK Agrawal said while hearing a petition. On February 15, the apex court had framed 15 issues for consideration and it said that all of them should be considered by October 25.
“It is made clear that no adjournment will be granted and all necessary information should be obtained by the Union of India to assist this Court in respect of each of these 15 issues,” the bench said.
The 15 issues are: constitution of state child protection society; constitution of state commissions for the protection of child rights; establishment of juvenile justice boards (JJBs) in every district and their training; establishment of child welfare committees (CWCs) and their training; appointment of probation officers and their training; establishment of special juvenile police units in every police station, their training and updating the police training manual; provision for legal aid lawyers and their training; proper selection of members of JJBs and CWCs, assessment of manpower requirements of JJBs and CWCs and filling up the vacancies; furnishing of online quarterly reports by the state governments; significance of social investigation report; principal magistrates to exclusively deal with juvenile justice inquiries; registration of child care institutions; improvement of living conditions in government-run child care institutions; and establishment of juvenile justice fund.
The Additional Solicitor General showed a chart in compliance to the court’s order passed on August 29. After going through it, the division bench found the information deficient.
“For example, it is not known when the computers were purchased, whether the computers are working, annual maintenance contract has been awarded, manpower has been made available, etc,” the court said and directed the state governments and Union Territories through the chief Secretary to supply complete, full and necessary information in terms of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
The court sought information on availability of computers and peripherals, both for JJBs and CWCs, including whether computers and peripherals are in working order, manpower is available, annual maintenance contract has been awarded.
“This order be complied with positively within a period of three weeks from today. The information will be furnished in an affidavit by the concerned Chief Secretary or the Secretary in the Department of Women and Child Department (not by any junior official) to the Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development of the Union of India for the purposes of being filed in this Court, if necessary,” the court directed.