Red tape hinders setting up of special courts for children

Red tape hinders setting up of special courts for children

HC vested with task, but funds go to a government department

Red tape hinders setting up  of special courts for children

A proposal to set up special children’s courts for offences against children and violation of child rights has been stalled due to differences in accounting.

The High Court in its orders in Writ Petition No. 35644/2010 on July 7, 2011, had ordered the setting up of special courts called Children’s Court as per Sections 25 and 26 of Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. These courts are meant to expedite justice for the offences committed against children.

According to the order of the High Court, the City of Bangalore will have to set up a separate special court, while the Sessions Court in the 29 districts will be designated as special courts. In an order dated October 22, 2011, the government released Rs 59.07 lakh towards the expenditure for setting up the courts.

However, this money was released to the Director of Women and Child Development (DWCD). According to sources familiar with the issue, the Registrar General of the High Court has conveyed to the Law department that they cannot proceed with the setting up of the courts, appointment of judge and staff as the money allocated is with DWCD and not at the disposal of the High Court.

The Child Rights Commission too sent a reminder to the Secretary of Law department as recently as June 20, 2012, requesting the release of the funds to the High Court’s office of the Registrar General.

However, Principal Secretary to DWCD Ramesh B Zalki maintained that all systems were in place and the courts would start functioning once a judge was appointed.

Former chairperson of the Child Rights Commission Nina Nayak said with cases like that of French citizen Pascal Mazurier, special courts would benefit children and their families enormously as it would not only deliver speedy justice, but would also ensure a certain degree of protection for the children.

A judicial colloquium organised by the National Law School of India University in February this year to clarify the role of the children’s courts had opined that the interests of child victims would be better served if offences against children could be dealt within a dedicated court.

Criminal justice system

Arlene Manoharan of National Law School had stated that a whole range of needs and rights came into play when children were exposed to the criminal justice system.

“The Children’s Court is based on the recognition of these needs, and the realisation that the interests of child victims would be better served if offences against children could be dealt within a dedicated court. These courts should therefore be equipped to ensure child-friendly justice, while enabling the optimal use of available intermediary facilities, and promoting the required co-operation with other relevant role-players,” she had opined.

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