Either provide staff, or send children in conflict outside the state
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday came down heavily on state authorities for failing to provide staff to juvenile justice boards (JJBs) and child welfare committees (CWCs).
Hearing a PIL on juvenile justice and care, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe told the state counsel that if the government was not in a position to provide the staff to JJBs and CWCs, then send those children conflicting with law to outside the state
The court observed that “cosmetic compliance” without following the mandate of discharging duties on ground would not be continued.
“Intervention is needed as these children need special care,” the court said.
Chief Justice Mittal said that the trial of these children is hampered, which should not have happened in ordinary course as the children involved in different crimes are not being given proper and fair trial.
“This is such a sorry state of affairs on part of the authorities which shall not continue in future,” she said.
Under Section 61 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Child) Act, 2013 read with Rule 82 of the Rules of 2014, Special Juvenile Police Units have to be created by the police authorities. The court was informed that these units have been set up, and it directed that status report be filed before the Registry.
On previous hearing, the report of Chairperson of the Selection Cum Oversight Committee (SCOC) regarding implementation of J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 and the Rules of 2014 framed thereunder had stated that 22 Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and 22 Child Welfare Committees (CWC) have become functional and the cases pending against the juveniles in conflict with law have been transferred to the respective Juvenile Justice Board. “However, the biggest impediment in making these boards functional is non-availability of the staff,” the report had stated.
The report had also pointed out that the deployment of staff from District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) is no answer to the problem and as a result of the shifting of the staff, the DCPUs have been made dysfunctional.