The Madras High Court has said that Juvenile Justice Boards in the State should start functioning, and, if adequate infrastructure is not available, it should be provided by the government.

The First Bench of Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam passed the order on public interest litigation petitions by Human Rights Advocacy and Research foundation and A. Narayanan.

The Government Pleader produced a compilation of G.O.s issued by the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Department of May this year establishing JJBs in all the districts and said the government had passed orders constituting Child Welfare Committees. He did not produce any document in this regard. On the next hearing date, following an earlier order of the court, the government side filed an additional counter affidavit and documents stating that eight existing JJBs had been reconstituted and 24 new JJBs had been constituted. Thus, as on date, the boards were in existence in all the 32 districts. Petitioner Mr. Narayanan referred to a High Court order of June 20 and submitted that in view of the Juvenile Justice Act only magistrates trained in child psychology have to be appointed in the boards.

The Bench said that in its view errors or lacunae or defects in the matter of appointment of magistrates and also other defects could not be cured or removed overnight. He posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.

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