Bill on juvenile justice in offing

‘Child Age’ Being Raised To 18 Years


Srinagar, June 30: Preparation of the draft for framing of a new legislation on juvenile justice in Jammu and Kashmir is in the final stages and the proposed law is likely to be tabled in state Assembly in the upcoming session.
 Facing flak from rights groups and political parties for the lower cut off age of juveniles, the state government has almost completed the process of preparing draft bill for enhancing juvenile age from 16 to 18 years.
 “We have almost finished its drafting and would send it to the Law department within the next few days to get it vetted,” said Additional Secretary Social Welfare department, Sheikh Muhammad Yasin.
Yasin said they have examined the Central Act and the subsequent amendments made for framing draft for comprehensive legislation on the subject.
 Sources told Greater Kashmir that proposed draft calls for raising the juvenile age from 16 to 18 years and includes all obligations of the state towards protection of child rights which are enshrined in the Central Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and  international law.
 “It provides structured framework for the protection of the juvenile delinquents,” they said, adding that efforts have been made to bring the draft legislation in compliance with the international law as India is signatory to United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child.
 According to the UN Convention, “A child means every human being below the age of 18 years.”
 Secretary Law Department, Ghulam Hassan Tantray told Greater Kashmir, “The interests of minors would be safeguarded in it,” adding that once the cabinet approves the draft then it would be tabled during the upcoming assembly session.
 According to Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act 1997, children below the age of 16 years are treated juvenile in Jammu and Kashmir, while in other states, by the virtue of the Central Juvenile Justice Act 2000, the cut off age of minors is 18. The issue of minors’ detention under Public Safety Act and then putting them in lock-ups instead of juvenile homes here since 2008 has evoked sharp criticism from the national and the international rights groups.
 Amnesty International has also begun a signature campaign for enhancing the juvenile age in JK, urging Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to bring it at par with international law in the upcoming Assembly session.
 “Despite an obligation under international law to treat anyone below 18 as a child, police in Jammu and Kashmir continue to jail 16 and 17-year old boys as adults.” Amnesty said.
 It further said although India has amended its national juvenile justice law to make it consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the law in the state of J&K has not yet been updated.
 The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also asked JK government to update the Act.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST

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