For ten years now successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir have failed to create the post of mission director for Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), the vehicle for the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act.
In 2013, the state signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of India (GOI) to implement ICPS, although the Ministry of Women and Child Development had launched the scheme in 2009.
But even four years after signing the MoU, no efforts were made to implement the scheme or appoint a full time dedicated mission director.
The government has been giving additional charges to directors of other departments who have failed to implement the scheme for the welfare of juveniles in conflict with law as well as in need of care and protection.
In 2017 when the government appointed Hilal Bhat, a child rights expert as Mission Director ICPS the scheme started functioning, but he was removed unceremoniously by the government putting breaks on the functioning of ICPS.
"The post of Mission Director ICPS has not been created as yet. The General Administration Department (GAD) has not sanctioned this post. Now what they are doing is giving additional charges to directors of other departments," said an official working with ICPS, on condition of anonymity.
"After government appointed Hilal Bhat as director and three days after his appointment removed him, Rubeena Kounsar was handed the full time charge of mission director, but since former Social Welfare Minister wanted Hilal back as director, he removed Rubeena."
The official said the functioning of IPCS have been ignored by appointing favourites and removing them unceremoniously as ministers change.
"But later Hilal, like three earlier directors, was also removed from chair, and another director Shafat Sultan was appointed but was soon transferred. And rest all the directors that have been appointed were holding the additional charge of ICPS. The incumbent director is also given addition responsibility of ICPS."
Ideally, a KAS officer with a special rank should be posted as mission director ICPS, but since the post has not been sanctioned nobody can hold the charge.
To have a full time Director, the incumbent mission director has written to the government to 'urgently' create the post.
"A full time Mission director is urgently required in view of the structures of the schemes and magnitude of work load. Assigning of additional charges to other directors has not yielded desired results. Therefore, it is proposed that a full time post of mission director ICPS be created for smooth implementation of Juvenile Justice Act," the letter states.