Law to benefit children needs proper implementation: experts

February 16th, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) The Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), 2001, is seen as one of the most progressive steps for the well-being of children, but the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has found that there are nearly 5,000 cases under the law pending for as long as 12 years. “It is shocking that there are as many as 5,000 cases pending with the Juvenile Justice Board and some for as long as 12 years. A number of others are lying pending for three to five years. The child loses his childhood by that time,” said Dipa Dixit of the NCPCR at its national consultative meet in the capital Saturday.

Attended by official representatives of 21 states, including members of the judiciary, the government and the police as well as children, the four-day meet aims to strategise reforms and effective implementation of the JJ Act.

“The act is very progressive in nature but the question is its effectiveness. The implementation is the question. This meet aims at discussing all these factors so that the act is properly implemented,” said Shantha Sinha, chairperson of NCPCR.

At the inaugural function, NCPCR members laid out facts they found after visits to some states.

“More than 50 percent of the children’s homes don’t provide any counselling services across the country. More than 80 percent caregivers don’t get any training before joining the institutions and juvenile care centers, and physical punishment is a dominant method of disciplining in the children’s homes,” Dixit said.

The facts were borne out by four boys, all in the age group of 15-16, who are now living in a rehabilitation centre, Aman Biradari, after running away from several other rehabilitation centres in the capital.

“The juvenile homes are like jails. I was picked up from a railway station and put into a juvenile home in Lajpat Nagar where I used to be beaten up almost every day along with other children,” 15-year-old Mahmun said.

“Forget about love and care, the caretakers used to take back the clothes that we used to get and purchased things like cigarettes and tobacco. Frustrated, I used to escape from all these homes and go back to the roads,” he added.

Harsh Mander, who runs the Aman Biradari, said that although the boys have to cook their own meals there, they are still happy.

“They need some care, some love which they have been deprived of from their families. These boys in my home do their own food, they build the toilets and not one of them has run away like they did from elsewhere,” Mander said.

“There is no transparency in the system. The decision-makers should reform so that their will to do anything for the children, both in conflict with the law and those in need of shelter and care, becomes stronger,” Sinha said.

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