The High Court on Friday directed government to modify rules for appointment of principal magistrates for juvenile justice boards (JJBs) in the state.
A division bench of Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey asked the chief secretary to oversee implementation of Jammu & Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 along with the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in tune with directions passed by the court from time to time. “We are in agreement with the observations that SRO 117 may result in non-compliance with provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 and the Rules of 2014,” the bench said, while hearing Public Interest Litigation.
The Court made it clear that the JJBs presided over by designated Principal Magistrates and comprising members already appointed, may function in districts identified in the SRO – Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag, Leh, Kargil, Doda, Jammu and Poonch,
It, however said the Chief Judicial Magistrates in remaining districts of Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal,Budgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Ramban, Kishtwar, Udhampur,Reasi, Rajouri, Kathua and Samba shall preside over as Principal Magistrates over the JJBs till the posts are sanctioned.
Two JJBs members in each of the 14 districts stand already appointed and would be associated with respective Juvenile Justice Boards.
The court appreciated the selection-cum-oversight committee in implementing the Act and the rules on ground and noted the committee not only completed the selection process for JJBs and Child Welfare Committees in record time but strived to make the institutions under the Act functional.
In terms of Section 4 of the Act, a JJB was to be constituted in each district by 22 July 2014.