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HC asks CS to appear in person if failed to file affidavit

Constitution of Juvenile Justice Board

Sheikh Saleem

Srinagar, February 23: High Court on Tuesday granted three weeks time to state file fresh affidavit with regard to constitution of Juvenile Justice Board in the state and asked Chief Secretary of the state to appear in person if it failed to file affidavit.

A division comprising Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice BS Walia granted three more weeks time for filing fresh affidavit. “If compliance report is not filed, then Chief Secretary has to appear in person before the court on next date of hearing,” bench said.

In December last year High Court while expressing concern over plight of Juvenile home in Srinagar had directed state government to constitute Juvenile Justice Board within three weeks.

Last month Commissioner Secretary Social Welfare Board filed an affidavit stating that Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of Children) Act 2013 is already in place enacted in 2013.

Commissioner Secretary told the court that as per Juvenile Justice Act, the nomination of Judicial Magistrate as Principal Magistrate who has to be chairman of Juvenile Justice Board as envisaged in the act is not within the competence of the SWB.

He said the Board has requested Law Department to approach High Court for the appointment of Judicial Magistrate as Principal Magistrate for the purpose of discharging of duties of chairman of Juvenile Justice Board as envisaged in the act.

He said the board constituted   under section 4 of the act shall consist of Judicial Magistrate of the first class to be appointed by the high court and two social workers as members to be appointed by the government on the recommendation of the selection-cum-oversight committee constituted under rules of the act.

Court passed the directions while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filled by Tanvi Ahuja seeking treatment of juveniles in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, and establishing of Juvenile Justice Boards, observation homes and Juvenile Courts for the protection and welfare of juveniles.

In previous hearing Division bench of justice Muzaffar Hussain  Attar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said the affidavit does not satisfy the directions issued by the Court. On the request of Additional Advocate General court granted three weeks time to SWD for filing fresh compliance report. However today court granted three more weeks and in case it failed, Chief secretary has been directed to appear in court in person.

The department further stated in the affidavit that the effectuation of the Juvenile Justice Acts and Rules is linked with the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

“The scheme has already been formulated and draft scheme sent to GAD for seeking their advice with regard to certain features of scheme relating to the staff and manpower,” affidavit reads.

In the affidavit the commissioner further informed the court that to implement the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act, the state government has already signed an MoU with Government of India on 90:10 funding pattern for implementation of central sponsored scheme including ICPS to protect and safeguard the interest of Child.