No point having ‘magnificent legislation’ unless implemented, says SC Judge

Supreme Court Judge Madan B Lokur on Saturday said it was not enough to enact laws but to ensure that they were implemented. Speaking at a regional consultation conference on juvenile justice at Bhayander, he said the government had failed to effectively implement the previous legislation on juvenile justice, and then the Supreme Court had to step in.

Last year, Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, bringing in various amendments, including the provision to allow children, between the ages of 16 and 18, to be tried as adults in some ‘heinous offences’.

Justice Lokur, who constitutes the one-member Supreme Court committee on juvenile justice, did not comment on the Act, but criticised the government for previously being slow on implementation.

“When the 2000 (Juvenile Justice) Act came, everyone said it was wonderful; that this is a progressive country,” he said. “But what happened? It was not being implemented.” He said the apex court had to intervene in 2005 to ensure implementation.

He said it wasn't enough to simply hail something as ‘a magnificent piece of legislation’, but that ‘someone has to implement it’. The new law became effective on January 15, and activists and non-profit NGOs have pointed out ambiguities and contradictions in the Act, apart from various infrastructure and practical concerns.

Just before Justice Lokur spoke, Rashmi Saxena Sahni, a joint secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, said they were in the process of notifying the rules necessary for effectively implementing the Act. She said it would be ready before mid-July.

“I’d imagine that before you come out with the Act, you have to have the rules in place,” said Justice Lokur. Later on the sidelines of the conference he told The Hindu that such a view would as well apply to any law. “You’ve got to get everything in place,” he said.

“Systems have to be in place when a law is enacted. Some things take time, but to the extent that things can be done (they should be).”

He said the State Commission for Child Rights was sometimes referred to as the State Omission for Child Rights. He said the Centre and the states both would have to implement the Act.

“State Commission for Child Rights was sometimes referred to as State Omission for Child Rights”

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 9:37:54 PM |

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