J-K govt: Assures to revise Juvenile Justice Act

The Jammu and Kashmir Government has assured the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to table a revised Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act in the Assembly to look after children in need of care and protection.

The assurance was given by the Jammu and Kashmir Law Secretary to an NCPCR team that was visiting the state from June 24.

The team comprising NCPCR members Vinod Kumar Tikoo and Dr Yogesh Dube met Secretary Law and impressed upon the need for an effective juvenile law in place along with the relevant rules of the law that need to be notified at the earliest addressing the entitlements of children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law.

 The Law Secretary was very responsive and informed that the revised Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act in consonance with the Central Act, defining a child to be one who has not completed 18 years, is likely to be tabled in the Assembly in the coming session during August-September”, a release from NCPCR said today.

 The team was also informed that the Juvenile Justice Act  Bill, relating to the setting up of SCPCR, is also being tabled in the same session as the present government had taken up the issue of protection of child rights as a priority.

“The civil society was very responsive and discussed various issues that need to be in place, including the issue of birth registration, the right to health care and educational rights which need to be stepped up”, Tikoo said.

The delegation also met Governor N N Vohra and informed about the NCPCR’s work in various other states, including the areas of civil unrest and also discussed the issue of setting up a state commission in Jammu and Kashmir.

The team visited the recently established juveniles in Observation Home at Harvan and the Bal Ashram at Nishad.

The release said the delegation also had a separate meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir and the Dean and various heads of departments and discussed the possibilities of involving students in the social and audit mechanism.

‘West Bengal lags in juvenile justice’

Bengal is lagging behind other states in implementing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, judges of the Supreme Court and Calcutta High Court feel.

The judges said while inaugurating a workshop organised by the state legal services authority on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act in Calcutta on Saturday that the state government should set up juvenile justice boards and launch “extensive awareness programmes” for effective implementation of the act.

Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Ashok Ganguly of the Supreme Court, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice J.N. Patel, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose of the high court and advocate-general Anindya Mitra were among those present at the programme.

Justice Kabir is executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority, while Justice Ghose is executive chairman of the West Bengal Legal Services Authority.

The judges said the rates of child trafficking, corporal punishment and child labour in Bengal were much higher than in other states.

Justice Kabir pointed out in his inaugural speech that non-government organisations would have to be more active in making the juvenile justice act a success.

He said he visited almost all states as executive chairman of the national-level authority.

“I am sorry to say the impact of the implementation of Juvenile Justice ( Care and Protection of Children) Act is less in Bengal than in other states. The purpose of enacting the legislation is to bring abandoned and street children under one umbrella. For that purpose, the governments as well as NGOs would have to play a key role. These children should get food and a place to sleep at night,” Justice Kabir said.

He said he did not think money would be a problem in providing these facilities to abandoned or street children. “Many organisations across the world would come forward with financial help,” Justice Kabir said.

The chief justice of the high court, J.N. Patel, said that according to information provided by the state, 22,000 children, mostly girls, were victims of trafficking in the state.

Justice Ganguly requested advocate-general Anindya Mitra to ask the state government to take some special measures to stop child labour.

Justice Ghose hosted the workshop.