HC gives UT two months to set up child rights body

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday gave two months to the Chandigarh Administration to set up a Child Protection Commission. The directions were passed by a division bench during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

Appearing on behalf of the Administration, its senior standing counsel, Sanjay Kaushal told the Court that the UT Administrator has given an approval for setting up the Commission. Speaking for the Bench, Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri also emphasised on the need to have a selection committee which will select members for the Commission.

For this, the High Court has given two months time to Punjab and Haryana to respond to the guidelines laid down in the Juvenile Justice Act. These mandatory guidelines were brought to the notice of the High Court by Advocate Anil Malhotra.

The Chief Justice also remarked that members of Child Protection Commission need to specially trained to handle cases pertaining to child exploitation and crime.

The Haryana government, on the last date of hearing had finally agreed to set up a Commission for the protection of child rights in the state. An undertaking to this effect was submitted by the state to the High Court on the last date of hearing.

The Punjab government on the other hand, filed a detailed affidavit listing the steps, taken by it, in appointing members to the Commission it had set up in 2011. The counsel for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, advocate Anil Malhotra had emphasised that the two states cannot escape from their responsibilities on the child right issue and urged them to appoint people with experience and knowledge in the protection of child rights.

In its affidavit, the Punjab government had stated that it has allotted Rs 1.12 crore during the financial year 2012-13 for the setting up of the Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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