Juvenile boards soon in all districts

Every district in the state will soon have a Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) that will hear and dispose of cases involving children in conflict with the law. This, however, comes after a delay of 12 years since the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 came into force.

At present, the State has eight districts JJBs that are entrusted with the hearing of cases from neighbouring districts as well as their own, which causes many undue delays and hardships, especially for the relatives of the victims involved.

The backlog of pending cases has been a major issue in the Juvenile Justice system. According to a report conducted by the Department of Criminology, University of Madras, out of the 2,013 cases they had studied, 925 cases were pending disposal. The newly constituted JJBs are expected to accelerate the process of case disposal, which, according to the Act, should be done within four months.

The JJBs would also solve a problem for police officers, as when there is a case involving a juvenile in a district without a Juvenile Justice Board, they are required to escort the child to a district that has a Board.

The Government Order regarding the constitution of the JJBs was issued after the State government notified the Tamil Nadu Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules last week.

While child protection is a key area and has many structures in place, the need for officials with the right orientation on the subject is important to ensure proper implementation of the system, say experts

“It will be good if the members have a syllabus and are given some fundamental knowledge in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code as well as the Indian Evidence Act,” says T. Alagappan, former member, Juvenile Justice Board, Chennai.

“Most members are social workers and do not have legal backgrounds. It will benefit them tremendously if they are given an orientation on the law,” he adds.

Similarly, mid-level officials too require more training, say activists.

“Mid-level officials in particular do not have any training. It is important that they receive proper training with the best practices in place, since they are the people who closely interact with children and their families,” says Vidya Reddy, founder, Tulir, an organisation that works in the area of child sexual abuse.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:01:33 AM |

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