BRIEF NOTE ON CONSTITUTION AND FUNCTIONING OF JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMITTEE
In the Chief Justice’s Conference held on 9th and 10th March, 2006 in the Supreme Court of India, vide Item No. 22 of the Agenda under the heading “The plight of Juvenile Delinquents” the following resolution was passed:-
“That High Courts will impress upon the State Governments to set up Juvenile Justice Boards, wherever not set-up. The Chief Justices may nominate a High Court Judge to oversee the condition and functioning of the remand/observation homes established under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000”.
Pursuant to the aforesaid resolution passed in the Chief Justice’s Conference held on 9th and 10th March, 2006, on 25.04.2006 the then Hon’ble the Acting Chief Justice, Delhi High Court, New Delhi, was pleased to constitute the Committee to oversee the condition and functioning of the remand/observation homes established under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Thereafter, several Hon’ble Judges have been the Members of the Juvenile Justice Committee.
Some of the important initiatives taken by the Hon’ble Juvenile Justice Committee are as under:-
A. Steps taken in the direction to achieve improvements in living conditions of the inmates of all the Govt. run Children/Observation Homes under the advice and guidance of the Juvenile Justice Committee, Delhi High Court :-
Basic amenities meant for the inmates of the Homes including clothing/uniform, beds & bedding facilities and Hygienic food have been improved.
The existing medical facilities which were earlier inadequate, have been augmented by encouraging collaborative participation of doctors from Government/Private run Hospitals on a regular and voluntary basis.
Observation Homes have found a direct co-relation between children’s participation in creative skill development activities as well as sporting activities in reducing instances of aggression and unrest amongst them. These activities also help in enhancing social skill, academic performance and self esteem of children. It is for this reason the Juvenile Justice Committee had advised for making creative and sporting activities as an integral part of children’s schedule/curriculum in the Homes.
B. Improvements in respect of Juvenile Justice Delivery Mechanism
Management of the justice delivery system has had positive collateral effects. To make legal aid easily available, the Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee has constituted a Committee to submit a report on ensuring expeditious and effective legal services to Juvenile in Conflict with Law and their families, giving a major breakthrough in access to justice. The report so received has been forwarded to the concerned authorities to take remedial steps for lapses noticed and requisite steps for the suggestions highlighted in the report.
- A number of training programmes are being conducted for Legal Services Counsel on Panel for Civil and Criminal Cases including topics “relating to Juvenile’s age verification, children in need of care and protection, gender sensitization, Juvenile Justice Act, POCSO Act,” etc.
- Refresher course on “Juvenile Justice Act and its Effective Implementation” are being organized for Principal Magistrate and Members of Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees.
- Regular workshops are being organized for all the Chairpersons, Members and Legal Services Counsels of Child Welfare Committee in order to enhance their efficiency and skills.
- Introduction of Legal Service Clinic for Juveniles in Conflict with Law and their families to avail free legal services.
- In compliance with Section 8(3)(j), the Additional District Judges (Inspecting Judges) and Principal Magistrates/Members of Juvenile Justice Boards as also the Members of the Child Welfare Committees visit the Children / Observation homes in their jurisdiction and submit their reports accordingly. In addition, officers of the Juvenile Justice Secretariat, Delhi High Court also visit the Children/ Observation Homes to ascertain the actual condition of the inmates.
- To ensure speedy justice, in addition to three existing JJBs, three more Juvenile Justice Boards are in the process of creation.
- In addition to the existing eight Child Welfare Committees, two more CWCs have started functioning.
- There is a functional District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) for every district.
C. Efforts made in respect of Reintegration/ Rehabilitation of the children (Section 39 and 53 of JJ Act)
One of the key issues concerning the Children in Need of Care and Protection and the Juveniles in Conflict with Law is their reintegration/rehabilitation. Keeping this very issue in mind, several steps are being initiated under the valuable guidance and monitoring of the Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee.
Regarding speedy reintegration of the Juveniles, the Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee impressed upon the Delhi Police and Department of Women & Child Development to collaborate and design a user friendly website, providing the details and photographs of all children housed in the Children Homes in Delhi, so that in case of any missing child, the parents themselves could search the website or if approach the police, the Police Department could search the website to locate the missing child.
After deliberating the issue of missing/recovered children with the Delhi Police, Department of Women & Child Development and NIC, a nationwide website namely trackthemissingchild.gov.in was developed with the objective of repatriation and rehabilitation of missing/recovered children.
The Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee further impressed upon the Department of Women & Child Development to introduce more vocational trainings, to be imparted to the juveniles staying at Children/Observation Homes, so that when they leave the Institutions, may become capable to earn money for their livelihood, and reintegrate in the society. Besides this, the JJC is considering to take up the issue with DWCD to explore the idea of engagement of JCLs with some of the Government Institutions viz. Home Guards, Para-Military Forces, Railways etc.
Presently, some of the vocational trainings being imparted to the children at Homes are tailoring, stitching, hair styling, beautician, craft, plumbing etc.
The Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee has observed that often when Juveniles in Conflict with Law released by the Juvenile Justice Boards continued to participate in the rehabilitation/ reformation programmes. The participation of Juveniles is however, impeded on account of non-availability of funds necessary for commuting, food etc. Furthermore, accompanying parents often have to forego their daily wages for the day, which operates as disincentive to bring the child for participation in such programmes. It is for this and other related purposes at the behest of Juvenile Justice Committee, the Delhi State Legal Services Authority has allocated an Imprest Amount to the Juvenile Justice Boards to meet such petty expenses and make effective rehabilitation/reformation.
Recently, National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) started F&B programme for the inmates of Home at Majnu Ka Tila and after successful completion of the training a number of inmates have also gained employment. NSDC, in co-ordination with Primero and SUN Foundation, has also started a number of vocational training programme in a number of Homes.
One of the key issue, concerning the rampant increase in number of school going children getting exposed to drug/ substance abuse, and most of them later on turned into Juveniles in Conflict with Law the Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee has initiated deliberation with all the stakeholders including Department of Women & Child Development (DWCD), NGOs, Education & Health Department of Municipal Corporation; and Directorate of Education, GNCT of Delhi. In this regard, at the behest of Delhi Juvenile Justice Committee a Common Committee has been constituted, and assigned the task to evolve a road map to generate awareness about the ill effects of drug/substance abuse; set out steps for identification of children exposed to this problem and steps to be taken to rehabilitate the children so identified.
Besides this, considering the fact that most of the drop out school children become drug/substance abuse and later on Juveniles in Conflict with Law, the Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee has asked the Directorate of Education, GNCT of Delhi to conduct a periodic mapping exercise to identify the number of drop out students and initiate steps to bring them back to the education system.
With the result under the monitoring and guidance of Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee several steps are being taken by the stakeholders including survey of substance abuse; mobilization of school drop outs; sensitization programs for teachers/ students; launch of audio/visual information to generate awareness about the ill effects drug/substance abuse to create community awareness and the helpline for assistance for the sufferers; to engage sufficient number of counselors; referral of the children identified, exposed to drug/ substance abuse.
In the year 2014, on the advice of Delhi High Court Juvenile Justice Committee, and efforts initiated by the Department of Women and Child Development, a project proposal for mapping and size estimation of street children who use drugs in Delhi has been approved by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
Stakeholders in Juvenile Justice Mechanism
|Office of District & Sessions Judge||Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs)|
|Child Welfare Committees (CWCs)||Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD)|
|Department of Finance, GNCTD||Department of Urban Development/ Local Bodies|
|Delhi Police||Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA)|
|Directorate of Education, GNCTD||All three Municipal Corporations|
|Directorate of Health Services||Public Works Department (PWD)|
|Delhi Judicial Academy (DJA)||Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR)|
|National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)||NGOs|