Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Friday directed the state government to file detailed project report within three weeks with respect to upgrading thirty six orphanages in the state.
The court also directed that detailed report be submitted for two observation homes at Srinagar and RS Pora for the release of Rs 22 lacs for creation of facilities and adequate staff.
Meanwhile, the counsel for the state, Hashim Hussain informed the court that Juvenile Justice Boards will come up in a phased manner in 22 districts of the state. In the first phase, the juvenile justice boards will come up in Baramulla, Srinagar and Anantnag for Kashmir division. For Jammu division, the boards will come up in Doda, Jammu and Rajouri besides Leh and Kargil in Ladakh region.
He further informed the court that eight observation homes and child welfare committees will be set up in these districts in the inaugural phase.
Hearing the PIL on juveniles, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Alok Aradhe remarked that before setting up of Juvenile Justice Boards, there is need for creation of first class magistrates. From time to time we have directed to do the same but nothing such has been done so far.
“We direct the commissioner cum secretary social welfare department, secretary finance department and secretary law department to expedite the entire process and file the report by December 31, 2017,” the court said.
The court observed that there are no special homes in the entire state. We are informed that two such homes will be set up in Jammu and Kashmir. A report shall be submitted for the same on next hearing.
Meanwhile, a report submitted by advocate Umais Kawoosa and advocate Shah Faisal stated that there are some juveniles lodged at different jails across the state. He submitted that no legal aid has been provided to them so far.
The court directed the state legal service authority to visit those jails and provide legal assistance and submit report on the next hearing.
A PIL has been filed by a Haryana-based social worker Tanvi Ahuja, who later expired, stating that thousands of juveniles have been arrested over the years under J&K Public Safety Act (PSA) and sections of Ranbir Penal Code. She pleaded that instead of being tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, they have been kept in jails. The PIL alerted the court and the authorities on the exigency of juvenile justice homes.