SRINAGAR: Chief Justice of J&K High Court, Justice Gita Mittal today called for serious efforts to strengthen the Juvenile Justice (JJ) mechanism in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure protection of children with law conflicts. She strongly advocated for implementation of J&K Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of the Children) Act, 2013 and Rules 2014 in letter and spirit, which provide a robust mechanism for protection and safety of juveniles.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the 2-day Orientation Training Programme on Juvenile Justice System organized by the Juvenile Justice Committee of J&K High Court in collaboration with the UNICEF at SKICC here today, the Chief Justice observed that children are the major human resource of development and key agents for collective social change and they cannot be deprived of hope and dignity. Conscious and continues efforts must be made by all stakeholders of the society to ensure wholesome development of these children so that they also lead a dignified life and contribute for the development of the society and nation, said Justice Mittal.
Maintaining that judiciary has to play a vital role in sensitizing all the stakeholders by bringing them together and in identifying workable solutions in order to trigger changes at the ground level, Justice Mittal said the orientation and training of judicial officers and professional social workers coupled with required resources will help us to achieve the objective of proper rehabilitation of children in conflict with law. She urged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity and make practical use of their experience gained from the training programme.
She extended her gratitude to the Members of Juvenile Justice Committee of J&K High Court, Judges of High Court, Resource Persons, including Justice Mukta Gupta, Judge Delhi High Court for gracing the occasion and enlightening the participants on the issues related to the Juvenile Justice system.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey (Chairman, Juvenile Justice Committee of J&K High Court), Justice Alok Aradhe, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Justice Sindhu Sharma, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi, (Chairman, Selection-cum-Oversight Committee JJ Act), Registrar General J&K High Court, Sanjay Dhar, Director J&K State Judicial Academy, Abdul Rashid Malik, Principal Secretary to Chief Justice, Jawad Ahmed, Special Secretary, DSLSA, Geetanjali Goel, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Hilal Bhat, Mission Director, ICPS, G A Sofi, Ms Bharti, Dr Rajesh Kumar, Resource Persons, judicial officers of subordinate courts dealing with the Juvenile Justice, Lawyers, Juvenile Police Units, activists of various NGOs, social organizations and several other stakeholders participated in the conference.
The main objective of the training programme was to deliberate and highlight the issues related to the implementation of JJ Act and to review the progress achieved on various decisions taken in the two Roundtable Conference on Juveniles held last year and this year in Srinagar.
The experts deliberated in detail about the issues related to the juveniles and stressed that approach of the executive officials and the judicial system must be aimed at addressing the vulnerabilities of the children and ensuring their rehabilitation. They observed that idea behind rehabilitation is that people are not criminals by birth and have every right to get a chance to mend their character and reintegrated with society to lead a dignified life. All this can be possible with the collective efforts of all stakeholders of the society, said the experts.
Chairman J&K High Court Juvenile Justice Committee, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey stressed the need for the community participation for the rehabilitation of juveniles. He said children are the greatest resource of the nation and all stakeholders have to join hands to make efforts to protect them from all evils by using all means under and outside the legal framework. The orientation programmes provide opportunities to the people associated with this noble cause to introspect and re-dedicate to save the younger generation from various forms of abuses, said Justice Magrey.
Outlining the success of the two Roundtable Conferences on the implementation of Juvenile Justice System in the State, Justice Magrey said the State of Jammu and Kashmir has taken various steps to strengthen the juvenile justice mechanism. The measures included constitution of Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in all the 22 districts of the State, created eight posts of Principal Magistrates and the process of creating remaining 14 Principal Magistrates is at the final stage. The Juvenile Justice Committee of High Court of J&K is closely monitoring the progress of implementation of the JJ Act to ensure better set up for the juveniles.
He said the Committee is constantly maintaining high vigil on the implementation of the Act and the Rules for which regular meetings of all the stakeholders from time to time are being held to review the progress. Inspections of the Observation Homes and Children’s Homes at Jammu and Srinagar are being done to improve the conditions prevailing in these Homes like food, clothing, recreation, educating, health and psychology of these children.
Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur stressed the need for larger participation of community, NGOs, social organizations for the safety of the juveniles. He emphasized for a cautious approach by the agencies while dealing with the juveniles and every effort must be made to mould the mindset of the children to bring them on the right track. He also stressed for a close vigil by the society to prevent the children from various abuses and securing the future of the children.
Justice Thakur said Government’s role is imminent in improving facilities and rehabilitation of juveniles by way of providing infrastructure and other facilities. He expressed satisfaction on the role of the stakeholders, especially the NGOs and some Government agencies. He hoped that the training programme will go a long way in motivating the participants to rejuvenate their efforts to work in missionary spirit for the welfare of the ignored section of the society.
Justice Mukta Gupta, Judge Delhi High Court deliberated on the subject in detail and laid stress on tangible steps to further improving the juvenile system, children in conflict with law and the children in need of care and protection. She laid stress on effective mechanism to deal with the cases of juvenile with all sympathy and care so that they can be brought to the right path to lead the dignified life. She said regular counselling seminars should be held at the ground level to aware and motivate the children against various forms of abuse and anti-social activities. She said entire society has responsibility to save the younger generation from the destruction due to drugs, child abuse and other anti-social activities. The Courts have special responsibility to deal with such cases with extra cautious approach to ensure proper justice and rehabilitation of such children.
Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi and Bilal Bhat, UNICEF also addressed and shared their view points on the issues of juveniles.
Total four sessions were held on the first day of the programme. The first and second sessions of the Training Programme were chaired by Justice Mukta Gupta, Judge Delhi Court and co-chaired by Justice Alok Aradhe, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Ms. Justice Sindhu Sharma.
The third and fourth sessions were chaired and co-chaired by Justice D.S. Thakur and Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi respectively.
Mr. Abdul Rashid Malik, Director J&K Judicial Academy conducted the proceedings of the programme and introduced the subject. He welcomed the participants and expressed his gratitude for gracing the occasion.