Child rights protection panel not yet functional

The UP government, facing flak over reported deaths of children at relief camps set up for families displaced by communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts does not have a functional State Commission for Protection of Child Rights(SCPCR).

The government issued a notification for the constitution of the SCPCR on November 29 but is yet to promulgate its rules and appoint its chairperson and members.

The constitution of a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and SCPCRs in states were mandated by the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. Subsequently, the NCPCR was set up in 2007.

As per reports, Uttar Pradesh along with Nagaland and Tripura are the only states along with union territory of Lakshadweep where the SCPCRs were not constituted.

Secretary, Women and Child Development department, Kamini Chauhan Ratan said the process for constitution of SCPCR in UP was delayed due to a petition that was filed in the Allahabad High Court in this regard in March-April.

Ratan said the SCPCR was constituted after issues raised by the petition were clarified in the court. "We are working to make the commission functional soon and are initiating the process to select its chairperson and members," she said, adding that it is a coincidence that the SCPCR has been constituted at a time when the issue of children's deaths in Muzaffarnagar relief camps has come up.

The SCPCR's function is to supervise implementation of child rights and inquire into the incidents of the violation of child rights. Last week, the Supreme Court had asked the UP government to verify the reports about the children's deaths in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts and directed that "immediate" remedial measures be taken to provide for the cold winter months.

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