Jammu: A meeting of High Level Committee as required under Section 16 (2) of Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was convened on Thursday at High Court of J&K and Ladakh, Jammu, under the chairmanship of Justice Tashi Rabstan, Judge, High of J&K and Ladakh and Executive Chairman J&K LSA.
The meeting was attended by R. K. Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary Home, Sheetal Nanda, Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department and Amit Kumar Gupta, Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority also Ex-officio Member Secretary, Juvenile Justice Committee, High Court of J&K and Ladakh.
A detailed review of case pendencies and disposal of cases by the Juvenile Justice Boards across the J&K was held during the meeting. Also, the progress on resolutions passed during the previous year’s meeting was reviewed besides deliberating upon the issues confronting proper implementation of the said Act in the J&K.
The Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority presented data regarding the disposal and pendency of cases in various Juvenile Justice Boards. He informed that 2525 cases were pending at the beginning of the current year and 771 fresh cases were instituted uptill 31.10.2023, whereas, 628 cases were disposed of between January to October 2023.
The Executive Chairman recorded satisfaction regarding the working of Juvenile Justice Boards and appreciated the efforts of Home and Social Welfare Department in strengthening the JJBs.
However, during the meeting the issue of connectivity of these Boards through internet and computerization was highlighted and the Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department assured the Executive Chairman that the said issues shall be resolved immediately and the internet facilities shall be provided to all the 05 Juvenile Justice Boards in those districts where the same is not available as on date. She also informed the chair that the vacancies of members of the JJBs and CWCs across J&K shall be filled very soon as the process of operating waiting list has been initiated.
Regarding payment of compensation to the victims and their dependents under Victim Compensation Scheme 2019, the Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority informed that during the current calendar year interim compensation to the tune of Rs. 1,20,87,000/- has been disbursed in 66 cases whereas Rs. 3 lakh have been paid as final compensation in one case. He further informed that 24 such applications were pending wherein, an amount of Rs. 51.12 lakh has been awarded by the concerned courts and due to the non-availability of funds, the same could not be disbursed.
ACS Home assured the Executive Chairman that the said amount shall be released within a couple of days to clear the pending liability and to take care of future needs upto March 2024 to ensure that the timely compensation is paid to the victi
ACS Home also informed the Executive Chairman that Special Juvenile Police Units have been set up and Child Welfare Police Officers have also been nominated besides creation of child friendly corners in all Police Stations and the details shall be shared with the Member Secretary in a couple of days. He further informed that 69 Prosecutors have already been appointed and the department is in the process of appointing 117 more Public Prosecutors to deal with the issue of non-availability of prosecutors besides assigning additional charge to the existing prosecutors which adds to the delay in the disposal of the cases.
Agreeing to the proposal of Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority in organizing joint awareness programmes with the Department of Social Welfare to spread awareness among the masses regarding the implementation of the JJ Act, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) said it will help in achieving the purpose of the Act.
Justice Tashi Rabstan impressed upon the members to conduct such meetings on regular intervals preferably on quarterly basis instead of bi-annual basis as mandated by the Act, to take stock of implementation of various provisions of the Act.