Finally,Finance Dept nod to Juvenile Justice Bill


Srinagar, Nov 4: Hurdles in the way of upgrading the Juvenile Justice Law in Jammu and Kashmir have been finally cleared as the Finance Department has given its concurrence to the Bill.
 “We have cleared it,” Principal Secretary, Finance Iqbal Khanday told Greater Kashmir, when asked about the fate of the bill.
 Sources said after withholding concurrence to the financial memorandum of the Bill aimed at upgrading the Juvenile Justice Law in the state for the last two years, the Finance Department has finally relented and given its assent.
 “The move comes after the Minister for Social Welfare Sakina Itoo held a high level meeting sometime back wherein she asked the Finance Department that the initiative had no financial implications,” they said.
 A top official in the Social Welfare Department said the concurrence has paved the way for reforming the Juvenile Justice Act in the state.
 “Now the Social Welfare Department has to get law passed and it depends upon them whether they will take the legislature route or get it done through an ordinance,” the official said.
 Following widespread criticism from global rights bodies including Amnesty International, the Jammu and Kashmir Government had decided to frame new law to replace the ‘flawed’ and ‘obsolete’ JK Juvenile Justice Act -1997, last year
 Following the same, the Social Welfare Department prepared a draft on the directions of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and subsequently forwarded it to the Law Department for clearance. After its fine-tuning, the Law Department cleared it in September last year. After its nod, the Social Welfare Department submitted financial memorandum to the Finance Department for its concurrence.
 However in November 2011, the Finance Department after studying the financial implications returned the bill to the Social Welfare Department, asking them to modify the amount required for setting up of the requisite infrastructure needed. The file was again submitted to Finance Department earlier this year by the Social Welfare Department after some modifications.
 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 PSA) 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.
 Earlier, rights group Amnesty International has started a signature campaign for enhancing the juvenile age in JK, urging Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to bring it at par with international law.
 “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 has said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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