Govt yet to constitute CWC in DK district

Similarly, the Act also directs the State government to constitute district-level Child Welfare Committees (CWC) for exercising the powers and discharge the duties in relation to child in need of care and protection. Unfortunately, the district neither have a CWC, nor have an effective SJPU.

According to Section 63(2) of the Act, in every police station, at least one officer with aptitude and appropriate training and orientation may be designated as the juvenile or the child welfare officer (CWO) who will handle the juvenile or the child in co-ordination with the police. However, most of the cops are ignorant about the Act and its Rules.

For instance, a rape attempt case was reported at the Kavoor police station on July 14 wherein a 40-year-old man tried to molest a minor, speech and hearing impaired girl. Astonishing part is that a male cop in uniform interrogated the girl and recorded her statements regarding rape attempt and prepared the FIR violating rules.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, former CWC member and child rights activist Renny D’Souza said that though the State Child Protection Unit in association with UNICEF organises sensitisation programmes for selected cops to deal with cases related to children every year, transfer of such trained officers affects the system and newly appointed one has to work without proper knowledge on the Act.

When contacted, the district SJPU nodal officer and Assistant Commissioner of Police B J Bandary said that he was not aware of the Kavoor station incident. However, he said, “we have CWOs in all police stations in the district. We are planning to organise sensitisation programme for the police regarding JJ Act in the district.”

Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh said that they will look into the issue and do the needful to strengthen the Special Juvenile Police Unit.

No CWC in DK

In the meantime, though there should be a CWC in every district or group of districts as per Section 29 of the Act, Dakshina Kannada district does not have one.

Even though the term of previous CWC had ended in February this year, the government is yet to appoint new CWC members and Chairperson. The CWC constituted for Udupi district is the in-charge for Dakshina Kannada too. An interesting fact is that out of three CWC members in Udupi, two are members of Shimoga CWC. R N Ishwarappa and Umesh Aradhya, members of Shimoga CWC, who were given additional charge of Udupi CWC, have to look after three districts including Shimoga, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.   

Renny D’Souza said that the district needs separate CWC and pointed out that handing over the charge to the CWC of another district is not a practical decision, he added.

68-year-old CWC member

The government removed Advocate Rajesh from the Udupi CWC stating the reason that his age is below 35, which is against the amended rules of JJ Act. However, Ishwarappa, who replaced Rajesh, is a 68-year-old person, but the rules are mum about upper age limit.

Rajesh said that the High Court has already quashed the government’s decision and delivered verdict in favour of him.

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