Bill on juvenile justice unlikely in Budget session
Srinagar, Jan 28: The chances of proposed legislation to update juvenile justice law in JK coming up in the forthcoming budget session seem to be bleak as it is awaiting clearance from the Finance Department for the past five months.
Sources told Greater Kashmir the proposed legislation is pending with the Finance Department since September last year after the Social Welfare Department submitted it for concurrence.
The new bill addresses the concerns raised by the rights bodies, political parties and lacunas found in the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act 1997.
The issue of detention of minors under Public Safety Act during 2010 unrest created furore in the Valley. The national law mentions youth aged upto 18 years as minors, present State law categorizes youth only up to 16-yrs old as minors.
While JK Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar asserted that the bill will be tabled in the upcoming Assembly session, but officials in the Finance Department and Social Welfare Department revealed that there is little probability of the bill being tabled in near future.
“First, the Finance Department should clear the bill and then it has to be Okayed by the Cabinet. It has to be sent to Governor for consent before introducing it in the State legislature. Going by the time of the assembly, there seems less chances that it will be tabled in the next session. We have also written to the Finance Department a few days ago to swiftly clear the financial aspect of the bill as up-gradation of juvenile justice system is the commitment of Chief Minister, but there has been no response from their side,” insiders in the Social Welfare Department revealed.
They disclosed that they have also addressed the concerns raised by Finance Department over the financial requirements for implementing the legislation.
“Even two months ago, they had sought explanation over finances and sought curtailing of the amount and we promptly redressed both of their concerns,” they said.
“First there was plan to bring ordinance, then we had plans to introduce the legislation during summer session, but both times the move was aborted due to its pendency with Law and Finance Departments,” they added.
On April 21, 2011, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah acknowledged the need for bringing the State’s Juvenile Justice Act at par with the National Act.
“I would ask the Law Department to look into the provisions of both the Acts and if any gap is required to be filled up in the State Act through legislation we should move towards that direction,” Omar had said while speaking at a workshop on Juvenile Justice System organized by JK Police in collaboration with NGO Save the Children at Sher-e-Kashmir Police Academy in Udhampur.
Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar in September 2011 said that draft of the bill will be presented in the forthcoming assembly session.
Even the Amnesty International had asked the State to update the juvenile justice law during the last assembly session held in Srinagar.
“The Chief Minister of J&K, Omar Abdullah, has recognized the need for reform in this area. To make sure these reforms happen, we need you to urge the Chief Minister to begin by amending the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act (JKJJA) in the 2011 Monsoon session of the J&K Assembly,” the AI had said.
Pertinently, after facing widespread criticism from the global bodies for archaic juvenile justice law, the JK Government had directed Social Welfare Department to prepare the draft of the bill. Following its preparation, the draft was subsequently sent to Law Department, which cleared it in September. Then, the financial memorandum of the bill was sent to the Finance Department for their concurrence.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Jan 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 28 Jan 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Jan 2012 00:00:00 IST
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