Continuing gross violation of law, minors being tried in courts

FARZANA SYED. Dated: 3/14/2017 12:20:23 PM

ICPS to take initiatives towards setting up Juvenile Justice Boards

SRINAGAR, Mar 13: While scores of minors across Kashmir valley are placed under illegal detention almost every year, a lone juvenile home and not even a single juvenile justice board, is all Kashmir valley has got.
Hundreds of underage children accused of being in conflict with the law continue to be detained in ordinary jails and tried in ordinary courts as a blatant violation of constitution of law and justice.
To address this anomaly, recently the state government constituted ‘Selection cum oversight committee’ to set up and monitor Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in J&K.
The selection cum oversight committee will form not only district level Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) but also Juvenile Justice Boards ( JJBs) in the State of J&K.
According to Justice Hasnain Masoodi, who has been appointed as the chairman of the committee, the ICPS will be time bound and all pre requisite initiatives for setting up juvenile justice boards in all districts of the valley will be taken.
Justice Masoodi said that the trial of minors by courts and their detention in ordinary jails was a shocking and gross violation of law.
"Children who are accused of any offence cannot be exposed to an atmosphere in ordinary jails with adults and criminals. In this regard a Juvenile Justice Act was created in 2013. However, ironically that act is yet to be implemented on ground level," justice Masoodi said.
Justice Hasnain said that minors cannot be detained and exposed to an atmosphere where they are lodged in lockups with adults and criminals.
He said trial of minors in ordinary courts and sending them to any jail was an extreme violation of constitution and law.
"The rule of law is that minors cannot be even placed under preventive detention. For instance here in the valley, Public Safety Act is slapped on minors. Off late, the state high court has taken cognizance of matters which include slapping PSA on a minor which is against law "Justice Hasnain revealed.
"If there is a child in conflict with law, he cannot be detained, he cannot be tried in ordinary courts. There ought to be juvenile justice boards to deal with such minors."
Justice Hasnain said juvenile justice boards were the need of the hour and the committee shall make all efforts to put them in place.
He said, "Now that the selection and oversight committee has been set up, its priority is to constitute juvenile justice boards at district levels."



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