Gauhati High Court slams government for delay in notifying juvenile justice rules
The Gauhati High Court expressed displeasure over the State Government’s delay in notifying the Juvenile Justice Rules & Child Protection Policy
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court expressed displeasure over the State Government’s delay in notifying the Juvenile Justice Rules & Child Protection Policy and directed it to suggest names of officials from the Department of Women and Child Development for a proposed court-appointed committee to monitor implementation of the same.
This was stated in an order passed in connection with a PIL (60/2019) filed by a social organization named Bachpan Bachao Andolan, seeking to enquire into the status of implementation of child protection laws in the State as laid out in the SC case of Sampurna Behura v. Union of India (2018).
Through the recent order by the Gauhati High Court, directions were issued to the Assam Government to suggest the names of officials from the Department of Women and Child Development as members of a proposed court- appointed Committee, to visit various children observation and special homes in the State and report if there is proper implementation of various child protection and children right laws. This will be done in a move to ensure that the various directions contained in the case of Sampurna Behrua v. Union of India (2018) are complied with, the order said.
The High Court order also said that besides suggesting names of the officials of the Department of Women and Child Development, alternative names should also be suggested for inclusion as members of the proposed committee. The State Government was also directed to provide names of some of the representatives of the NGOs working in this field, out of which the HC will appoint three persons in the said committee. The HC order also directed the advocates for the petitioner, as well as the court’s standing counsel, to suggest names for appointing persons in the court- appointed committee, out of which 1-2 persons shall be appointed as members of said committee. The names are to be provided within two weeks by way of a list to be filed before the court’s Registry, the order also stated.
The order also referred to the response by the secretary to the State Government’s Women and Child Development Department has submitted that the government has drafted the Juvenile Justice Rules as well as Child Protection Policy, which is being circulated to various departments for their suggestion and comments. In this regard, the HC opined that the Juvenile Justice Act, in the present form was enacted in the year 2015 and notified in the year 2016, and so, did not appreciate the delay in notifying the Rules and the Child Protection Policy.
Taking cognizance of the circumstances, the HC order asked the State’s Chief Secretary to consult with various departments and agencies which are required to be consulted before notifying the Juvenile Justice Rules and Child Protection Policy. If required, the order added, the Chief Secretary could call for a joint meeting and also ensure that the suggestion and comments of the other departments concerned are obtained within four weeks from the date of the order. The state was also ‘put to notice’ that, in case the suggestions and comments from the other departments are not received within the time frame, the court will be compelled to implead those departments in the case.
The HC also directed the government to take steps for conducting the social audit and to inform the court about such steps before the next date of listing on October 10.