Constitute child welfare committees in each district within 3 months: HC to U’khand govt
Uttarakhand High court on Wednesday directed the state government to frame rules under Juvenile Justice Act 2015 and notify them within six monthsdehradun Updated: May 23, 2018 21:29 IST
Uttarakhand High court on Wednesday directed the state government to frame rules under Juvenile Justice Act 2015 and notify them within six months.
In a landmark order, the high court also directed the government to constitute a state child protection society apart from child protection unit and child welfare committee in each district within 12 weeks. It also asked the government to a financial support of Rs 1 lakh to child care institutions for rehabilitation and social reintegration of children.
Citing various provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, the court said that chairperson and members of the child welfare committees be appointed on the recommendations of a selection committee, which should be constituted within four weeks.
The division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sharad Kumar Sharma issued the directions while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Shivangi Gangwar in 2016.
The petitioner had sought prompt and effective steps for providing required nutrition, medical facilities, adequate living standards and protection from sexual harassment to the inmates at government Nari Niketans and shelter homes run by the government and NGOs.
The PIL highlighted the molestation, rape, harassment and victimization of Nari Niketans inmates in Uttarakhand, especially at Nari Niketan, Kedrapuram, Dehradun.
The petition alleged that two inmates of Nari Niketan at Dehradun had died under mysterious circumstances, while one hearing and speech impaired inmate was subjected to rape and forcible abortion. The petitioner stressed that the state government had not taken any appropriate action to ascertain the cause of death of the two inmates. The accused in the case are facing trial before the sessions court, Dehradun.
The court directed the district and sessions judge to conclude the trial within six months by holding the trial on a day-to-day basis.
The bench also directed the government to pay exemplary damages of Rs 25 lakh or pension of Rs 11,000 per month to the hearing and speech impaired inmate, who was raped and forced to undergo abortion.
The court observed that “people ordained to protect the children are themselves found sexually molesting/abusing the children…how these things can happen under the very nose of the administration is difficult to fathom”.
The bench ordered an inquiry committee be constituted under the supervision of “this court” to find out the culprits who were committing rape and forcible abortion of inmates of Nari Niketan, Kedarpuram, Dehradun.
Citing media reports and the petition, the HC observed that the conditions of the Nari Niketans, shelter homes and children homes was deplorable; no arrangements were being made for the return of inmates to their homes; there was overcrowding; and mentally challenged inmates were also being kept there, which was not permissible under the law.
Justice Rajiv Sharma had on May 9 received a letter written by one of the inmates, in which his guardian had highlighted the sexual assault of his 11-year-old blind son at National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun.
“The matter was also taken up by the guardian with the Uttarakhand Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The secretary, Uttarakhand Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has written a letter to SSP Dehradun on May 5 to inquire the matter but till date, no action has been taken against the teacher (accused)...,” the order read.
The management of the institute has been directed to put Ramesh Chandra Kashyap, music teacher, under suspension and commence disciplinary proceedings against him and conclude the same within three months.
The HC also directed the DGP to register FIR against Kashyap under POCSO Act and Indian Penal Code, and complete inquiry and investigation within three weeks and trial be concluded within three months.
First Published: May 23, 2018 21:29 IST