Chennai, Sept 26 (PTI) The Madras High Court on Thursday warned of stern action, including criminal prosecution, against officials found not performing their statutory obligation and duties in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act.
A bench of Justice M Sathyanarayana and Justice N Seshasayee made the observation during the hearing of a batch of public interest litigation petitions, including one taken up by itself based on a Supreme Court order, on virtual non-implementation of laws beneficial to voiceless children.
"It is made clear that if this court in the future comes across any infraction and lack of performance of the statutory obligation and duties in implementation of the Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 on the part of concerned officials, stringent action will be suggested, which may include criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary proceedings," the bench said in its order.
After perusing affidavits filed by state government authorities, the judges said it had been stated that the officials had delegated the functions to their subordinate officers.
However, there was no indication that these subordinate officers were carrying out the instructions or not in a proper and effective manner, they said directing the authorities to file a further status report.
Taking note of a government order creating a special wing under an Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) to deal with crimes against women and children, the court impleaded the ADGP as a respondent and directed him to file a status report with regard to the action taken by the department since the formation of the same.
The bench also directed the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority (TNSLA) to make inspections in Chennai, Vellore, Salem, Tuticorin, Tirunelvelidistricts with regard to implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and rules by the concerned departments.
A similar exercise has to be carried out by the Pondicherry Legal Services Authority, it said.
The Supreme Court had in its February 9 order last year said the government has to acknowledge even children have fundamental and human rights and they cannot be compelled to live in uncomfortable conditions merely because they have "no voice in the affairs" of the state.
It had directed the Ministry of Women and Child Development and all state governments to ensure that all positions in the national and state commissions for protection of child rights are filled up well in time and adequate staff is provided to these statutory bodies so that they can function effectively.
Passing the order on a PIL seeking implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and its rules, the top court had also requested the chief justices of all the high courts to register proceedings on their own for effective implementation of the Act so that "roadblocks", if any, were meaningfully addressed after hearing authorities concerned.
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