Financial hurdle hits framing of legislation on juvenile justice

Srinagar, Nov 9: The framing of new law on juvenile justice in Jammu and Kashmir has hit a roadblock with Finance Department raising queries over the financial requirements for implementing of the...

Srinagar, Nov 9: The framing of new law on juvenile justice in Jammu and Kashmir has hit a roadblock with Finance Department raising queries over the financial requirements for implementing of the Legislation.
 Highly placed sources said that Finance department has raised observations on funds needed and sought modifications for bringing down the recurring amount required for setting up of infrastructure, as per the proposed law.
 Pertinently, in the wake of the widespread criticism by global rights bodies including Amnesty International (AI), the Jammu and Kashmir Government decided to frame new law to replace the "flawed" and obsolete" JK Juvenile Justice Act -1997.
 Following it, Social Welfare Department prepared a draft for framing law on the directions of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, in June and subsequently dispatched it to the Law Department for their clearance. After fine-tuning, Law Department cleared it in September.
 After their go ahead, Social Welfare Department submitted financial memorandum to the Finance Department for their concurrence.
 However, Finance Department after studying financial implications returned the bill to Social Welfare Department, asking them to modify the amount required for setting up of requisite infrastructure needed for it.
 "After studying the financial requirement, they (Finance department) expressed reservations and sent bill back to us," a top official of Social Welfare Department, wishing anonymity, told Greater Kashmir. He said they had conveyed to the Finance department that implementing of the legislation would require Rs 200 crore. He added that this amount was only required for setting up Juvenile Homes in districts, besides their running and creation of posts for the staff for them would also involve crores of rupees annually.
 When contacted, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said he had no information about it.
 "I will check it from the Law department," he said.
 It is pertinent to mention that new draft addresses the concerns raised by the rights bodies, political parties and lacunae found in the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Act-1997.
 The issue of minor age, which created furore after the detention of minors under the Public Safety Act during last year's unrest in Valley, has also been sorted out in it, as it calls for enhancing the maximum age of minors from the present 16 to 18 years.
 While, according to the existing JJ Act-97, "Juvenile" means a boy who has not attained the age of 16 years or a girl who has not attained the age of 18 years.

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