Committee for JJB not enough: HC

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Apr 29:  The High Court today observed that the mere constitution of Selection cum oversee committee by the government for Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) is not enough unless it is made workable and meaningful.
It is after a lapse of almost two and a half years and repeated directions by the Court, Government has constituted the Committee for the JJB.
State counsel submitted before the Court that the directions have been complied with and he produced SRO copy in terms of which Selection-Cum-Oversight Committee has been constituted the Court which revealed that the committee is headed by Justice (retired) Hansain Masoodi.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice B S Walia directed the authorities to make it functional on ground rather than to confine it to paper work. “The respondents are expected to be conscious that the ‘oversight’ component of the functions of the Committee make it a full time committee and therefore taken to be alive to the onerous cause sought to be achieved by the constitution of committee supra and will make available all the assistance required for making it fully functional rather than confining it to paper work only”, DB said.
Court during the proceeding of the matter observed that the object sought to be achieved by the instant PIL is to primarily see that the mandate of the Act (Juvenile Justice Act), is implemented in its letter and spirit and an optimistic approach is required to be shown by all the concerned.
“Mere constitution of the Committee does not suffice unless such constitution is made meaningful by extending all the possible help to it including the financial support”, read the order.
In the month of December 2015 Court while taking note on the failure of the State to fulfill, on ground, the object of the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 and the Rules of 2014 had directed the State through its Commissioner/Secretary, Social Welfare Department, to comply with the provisions of the Act and had sought compliance as regards the constitution of The Juvenile Justice Boards with a rider that on failure of the same then CS has to appear in person before the Court.
Court has expressed its displeasure on fixing a meagre amount of Rs 2500 for the Chairman of the Committee for his per sitting. The communication addressed to the Chairperson by the Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department, J&K. Perusal of the communication which reveals that there is no State/ Central budget for the said position, however, the Government contemplates to fix Rs. 2500/- per sitting in respect of Chairperson.
“The communication placed on record by the learned State Counsel sounds bizarre as the appointed Chairperson being a former Judge of the High Court on his post retirement assignment is entitled to all the benefits and facilities as are available to a sitting Judge of the High Court, less by pensionary benefits”, Justice Magrey and Justice Walia said while censuring the authorities for their act.
Court reminded the authorities about the recent past in which Government appointed a former Judge of the High Court as Chairman of the Committee for fixation of fee structure of the private educational institutions extended pay to him the salary  of a sitting High Court Judge but minus pension.
Government in July 2015 issued an Order bearing no. 369-Edu of 2015 whereby holding the Chairman of the Committee entitled to pay as is admissible to a sitting judge of the High Court minus pension and commuted portion of pension, if any. “Therefore, the Chairperson of the Selection-cum-Oversight Committee under the Act cannot be put to a differential treatment”, DB said
Court as such directed the authorities to fix the terms and conditions of the appointment of Chairperson of the Committee at par with the Chairman of the Committee for fixation of the fee structure of the private educational institutions.
Court said that the respondents have to take into consideration the fact that the acceptance of the assignment by a retired Judge of the High Court renders him disable for all other assignments those are in hand or may become available in future. “Therefore, the appointment rather than doing any good should not harm the appointee. The Chairperson, thus, shall be entitled to and paid all the dues minus the pension besides being provided with all the facilities as are available to a sitting High Court Judge”, court directed and sought compliance of this directions from the respondents by next date of hearing.


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