Juvenile Justice Boards to come up in all districts

Juvenile Justice Boards to come up in all districts

HC asks govt to create First Class Magistrate positions for the boards

SRINAGAR: Juvenile Justice Boards will be set up in each district of Jammu and Kashmir, government on Saturday informed the J&K High Court.
Court, however, sought clarification on the creation of 22 First Class Judicial Magistrates required for setting up juvenile boards in each district. The Jammu and Kashmir Government was also directed to file inspection report regarding the exact number of juveniles who are in conflict with law in each district.
Secretary Social Welfare department informed the court that an advertisement notification was published on August 8, 2017 in this regard and process has been initiated for setting up of Juvenile Boards in all the districts.
“If you are going with this proposal, there is a need for creation of 22 additional posts (of first class magistrates) and that should be done on priority basis. We cannot take judges from already existing courts,” chief Justice, Badar Durrez Ahmed, observed.
The court directed the social welfare department and the law department to come up with a report on creation of the first class judicial magistrates on the next hearing.
The report presented by petitioner counsel stated that juveniles have been kept in prolonged custody in jails before taking them to observation homes.
In Kashmir, 603 juveniles have been apprehended, and in Jammu, nine have been apprehended by police so far. The counsel further informed court that after interviewing some of the juveniles, they were on record about being kept in police custody for longer periods and have been beaten by police at various times. He further stated that at times, police registers juveniles as adults and there is no legal aid provided to them.
A division bench headed by the Chief Justice directed Commissioner Legal Services to be present during the next hearing and ensure that legal aid is provided to the juveniles and also directed J&K Government to come up with fresh report.
The court also passed a direction to Advocate General BA Dar to ensure that the report was submitted on the next hearing.
The court pressed that juveniles can’t be put in jails. They have to be rehabilitated and sent back to live normal life. They have to be provided friendly environment for their mental and physical growth.
A PIL has been filed by a Haryana-based social worker Tanvi Ahuja who has expired. She had stated that thousands of juveniles have been arrested over the years under J&K Public Safety Act (PSA) and sections of Ranbir Penal Code; instead of being tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, they have been kept in jails.

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