An Unpardonable Crime
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: October 24, 2012 -
The latest report of Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has exposed the deep rooted corruption in every sphere of public life in Manipur today, which has not even spared young children who are being hailed as future pillars of the society.
It is indeed sad to learn that rampant corruption and misuse of resources have made a dent in the juvenile justice system of the State and the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has stopped providing fund to Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) for the current fiscal year, 2012-2013 as the State Government has failed to establish them.
This is really shameful, because the Government of Manipur has been making tall claim about setting up JJBs in all the nine districts of the State and accordingly, the Project Approval Board (PAB) for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development gave its approval for providing grant to the supposed nine JJBs.
However, as one cannot keep lying all the times, now the truth has come out in the open - there is no JJB and no staff has been appointed but the funds provided for extending services to children are being misused or diverted all these years. This goes to show how far the Government of Manipur is committed towards ensuring juvenile justice in the State.
With children increasingly becoming victims of various crimes in this conflict ridden State, the need for ensuring proper implementation of Juvenile Justice Act or JJ Act in short, has always been felt.
But the manner of implementing Act, which came into effect in Manipur in 2003, a good three years after its enforcement in rest of the country, has remained only in name sake with no necessary infrastructure in place. Under the Act, setting up of JJBs, Child Welfare Committee, Special Homes and Observation Homes are mandatory.
If any person below the age of 18 is found involved in any crimes, he or she should be produced before the JJ Board instead of a law court and kept at the Observation Home while the trial is going on.
In case of needing counseling, they should be kept under the care of a Special Home. But in the absence of all these facilities, implementation of the Act is meaningless.
Another important aspect of JJ Act is that it can prevail over any other National security legislation including the 'dreaded' Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
But in most cases, the Central security personnel lack knowledge about the provisions of JJ Act and children have been regularly apprehended, detained and subjected to torture while many were killed in fake encounters.
14 cases of extrajudicial execution of children by security personnel in Manipur which has been cited in the report of ACHR is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
In such a situation, depriving juvenile justice is an unpardonable crime.
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