HC directs personal appearance of Comm/Secy SWD for not constituting JJBs

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Mar 15: The State High Court today sought personal appearance of Commissioner/ Secretary Social Welfare Department for not constituting Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs).
Court on last date of hearing had rejected the compliance report of Commissioner/ Secretary Social Welfare Department with the observation that it was not in tune with court directions and had sought fresh report from the Government with a condition that in case compliance report on the constitution of JJ Board is not filed then Commissioner/ Secretary has to remain present before the court.
As the Compliance report has been filed by the Government but it is nowhere mentioned in it that the Board has been constituted as court directed, which constrained the court to direct the Commissioner /Secretary to remain present before it on next date.
Commissioner/ Secretary stated that under rules of the JJ Act the board consists of three members, one from judicial stream which is to be appointed by the High Court and is designated as Principal Magistrate and other two members are social workers with one member to a woman and these two to be appointed by the Government on the recommendations of selection-cum-oversight committee.
There is nowhere mentioned about the constitution of JJ board except the details and strength of the board given by the Commissioner / Secretary in his compliance report. “Law Department has been requested to provide a Judicial Magistrate to act as Principal Magistrate for the JJBs at District Level. Law Department had already taken up the matter with Registrar Judicial”, read the compliance of the Commissioner/ Secretary.
Court with the direction for constitution of Juvenile Board had also directed that other provision of the Act are also to be complied with and had sought compliance in this regard also from the authorities.
Commissioner/ Secretary in its compliance report reiterated same comments which he had mentioned in his earlier report which has been turned down by the court with the observation that the same is not in tune with court directions. “The nomination of Judicial Magistrate which is the principal member besides other two members of board, is not within his competence and in this view Law Department has been requested to approach the High Court for this purpose”, said earlier report of Commissioner /Secretary.
Court besides constitution of the JJBs also sought implementation with the provisions of the Juvenile Act and provide support to the Juveniles under this Act who are lodged in Juvenile homes as also to comply with other provisions of the said Act.
Meantime, court has been informed by the appearing counsel for petitioner Advocate Shah Faisal that two unwanted infants are presently lodged in G B Panth Hospital Srinagar. With these submissions court directed Medical Superintendent of the said hospital to take all necessary steps for looking after these two infants.
“In the meanwhile the respondent-state shall ensure that these two infants are not abandoned or handed over to any person or authority or organization which is not registered”, directed the Division Bench of Justice MH Attar and Justice B S Walia.
Court was dealing with a PIL filed by one Tanvi Ahuja who besides other directions is seeking implementation of The Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act enacted in 2013 and rules there under. She had approached the Supreme Court earlier for seeking directions upon the State Government but the Supreme Court asked her to approach the State High Court in this regard.
Petitioner Ahuja is seeking direction upon the respondents for implementation of the Provisions of Juvenile Act in the State in letter and spirit and establishing of Juvenile board and Juvenile court for protection and welfare of the Juveniles.
She further prayed for submitting details of cases pending in all court against Juvenile offenders as also the details of Juveniles who are lodged in different jails of the State. She also submitted that all the Juveniles who are below 18 years age be released forthwith from the prisons and police lockups and they be awarded compensation.