Juvenile Justice: New bill to be tabled in next Assembly session

Minister Confirms Development; Congress, PDP Say Will Support Pro-Children Initiative

ZAHID MAQBOOL

Srinagar, Dec 2: Faced with criticism from rights groups and public alike, the J&K Government is now all set to table the Juvenile Justice Bill in the next assembly session to be held in the winter capital Jammu. The Opposition parties say they would support the bill.
 The development, according to sources, comes after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah personally directed the concerned department to complete the formalities of the bill and make it ready for tabling in the next assembly session.
 The Minster for Social Welfare, Sakina Yatoo, confirmed the development. “All the processes of the bill have been completed. We are just waiting for the next assembly session. This is a welfare bill for the children of the state and now children up to the age 18 years will be termed as Juveniles as is the case with the central law,” she told Greater Kashmir.
 Taking to Greater Kashmir, the State Congress Chief Prof Saifuddin Soz said he would support the bill. “It is pro-children legislation. I don’t think any political party will have any objection over the bill. Everyone will support it,” he said.
 The Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it has been striving for the bill for a long time. “But unfortunately the present Govt is only selectively following such reformative legislations,” said Naeem Akhter, Chief spokesman of PDP. According to Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act 1997, children below the age of 16 years are treated juveniles 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.
 The Amnesty International had recently carried 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,” the 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 : Sun, 2 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 3 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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