Failing to see any positive response even after repeated communications, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) moved the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday seeking directions to Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh for constitution of fully functional state commissions for protection of child rights and children's courts.
The public interest litigation filed by NCPCR came up for hearing before the division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain which issued notice of motion to both the state as well as Chandigarh Union Territory (UT) for September 18.
Appearing for the NCPCR, advocate Anil Malhotra argued that in wake of the recent cases of children abuse in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Rohtak districts of Haryana there was an urgent need for ensuring compliance of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, providing for registration of children's homes and for constituting child welfare committees, state/ district inspection committees/advisory boards.
The division bench was apprised that despite repeated communication made by NCPCR with both the states and Chandigarh UT since 2008, no positive response was seen regarding taking essential steps for protection of children rights.
It was submitted that amongst the three, only Punjab had issued notification for constitution of state commission for protection of child rights on April 15 last year but it had also failed to appoint chairperson and members of the commission till date.
However, the counsel also asserted that it may also be in the interest of justice if children's courts, envisaged under section 25 of Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (CPCRA), are also notified in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh UT for providing speedy trial of offences against children or of violation of children's rights.
Malhotra reiterated NCPCR's stand before the court to appoint full time chairperson and members of the state commissions with experience in child protection as per Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007. However, appointment of district administration officers such as deputy commissioners on such posts will result in conflict of interest on account of other official engagements and they would not be able to devote time towards children's interests, it was informed.
Citing an example of the recent incident of children abuse in Rohtak shelter home -Apna Ghar, the bench was informed that Haryana government's responses received by NCPCR had not been satisfactory in terms of protecting the rights of specific children involved in the case.