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What happened to J&K Commission for Protection of Child Rights?

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HC asks govt to intimate it without fail about status of appointment of members for the Commission

Srinagar: The High Court has ordered the J&K government to intimate it without fail about the status of the process of constitution of J&K Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

A division bench directed the respondent department to intimate it without fail as to the status of the process for appointment of the members of the Committee for constitution of J&K Commission for Protection of Child Rights by the next date of hearing.

“Failing which, we would be compelled to call the concerned official respondents to remain present in person before this court to explain before us,” ruled the bench.

The bench said “we are unable to understand as to whether authorities had really taken any concrete steps or not. We take this matter with the utmost seriousness it deserves in view of the important statutory role the Commission plays.”

The observation was made in a petition of public importance filed in 2020 seeking protection of the rights of the children under the law.

Vide an order of August 7, 2023, the court had sought information about the progress of the constitution of J&K Commission for Protection of Child Rights. A week later it was submitted on behalf of the respondents that a committee had been convened. It had pledged that the authorities will apprise the court as to the result of the matter by the next date.

However, even after the lapse of three hearings, nothing concrete emerged on behalf of the respondents, who merely sought time for the purpose.

The court today noted “nothing has been made known to us as to the stage of the process of the outcome of such a meeting for appointment of the members of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights.”

Although the government has taken many steps for the protection of child rights in J&K, still the cause of concern which remains is non-establishment of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The provisions of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 envisage the constitution of a body, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Section 17 (1) of the Act says, a State government may constitute a body for Protection of Child Rights to exercise the powers conferred upon it. The Commission has to perform the functions assigned to it, although it is not mandatory for every state to do so.

According to reports, scores of youth below the age of 18 have been put to preventive detention laws since the past few years. Many others, according to reports, are facing different kinds of abuses including sexual, and have allegedly no structural remedy to come out of their grim situation.

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