‘Completely Devastated To Notice Children Locked Up’: Orissa High Court CJ Talapatra Shares Experience Of Surprise Visit To Special Home
On Friday, the Quarterly newsletter of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Orissa High Court ‘Sishu Surakhya’ was released by Chief Justice Subhasis Talapatra in the presence of the Judges of the High Court. Mrs. Subha Sharma, Commissioner, Women & Child Development, Shri Lingaraj Panda, Director ICDS, Shri Manna Biswas, UNICEF Field Officer, Odisha, Judicial Officers of the...
On Friday, the Quarterly newsletter of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Orissa High Court ‘Sishu Surakhya’ was released by Chief Justice Subhasis Talapatra in the presence of the Judges of the High Court.
Mrs. Subha Sharma, Commissioner, Women & Child Development, Shri Lingaraj Panda, Director ICDS, Shri Manna Biswas, UNICEF Field Officer, Odisha, Judicial Officers of the State, Member Secretary and Officers, OSLSA, Director and Officers of Odisha Judicial Academy were also present on the occasion.
The Newsletter contains message of the Chief Justice wherein he has discussed about the care-programmes like Integrated Child Protection Services (ICPS). He has emphasized on the need of the Juvenile Justice Committees working under the aegis of the different High Courts to play significant role in monitoring the activities of the care institutions and implementation of ICPS.
He has also stressed upon the need of bringing about an effective system to build up collaboration between the Juvenile Justice Committees and the administrative departments entrusted with the child welfare affairs and with the expert agencies so that the object of those programmes is truly realised.
Referring to the ‘Beijing Rules (1985)’, the Chief Justice said that deprivation of personal liberty should not be resorted to unless the juvenile is adjudicated of a serious act involving violence against any other person or persistent in committing other serious offences.
Basing on the studies, he wrote that punishment is often ineffective so far as crime prevention is concerned and it is now widely accepted that primary purpose of any action taken against the child-in-conflict with law, including the deprivation of liberty, must be rehabilitation and reintegration of the child.
The Chief Justice further wrote that jail is no place for a child and depriving children of their liberty has a long-lasting effect on the child’s physical, mental and emotional health and development.
He went on to narrate the experience he got when he recently paid an unannounced visit to a special home in the State.
“I was completely devastated mentally to notice a huge number of children are lodged and locked up in a hall. It reminded me of Mr. Micawber, a character in Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield who believed that ‘something will turn up’. Something will not turn up from our passivity. It can only turn up for better, if we act to make things better. Our collective failure would prepare breeding ground for birth of hundreds of Kasabs,” observed the Chief Justice.
Speaking on the occasion, Justice Sangam Kumar Sahoo, the Editor-in-Chief of the Newsletter emphasized on alterative measures other than detaining children and said that detention drains both their childhood and valuable public resources that could have been put to better use. He stressed upon the need of the social welfare and justice systems working together in developing alternative programmes to prevent the detention of children.
He said it is also the duty of the State to provide equal opportunities for development to all children during the period of their growth which would reduce inequality and ensure social justice. Justice Sahoo commended the State Government of Odisha for taking steps in that respect.
He also emphasized on regular school attendance and vocational skills training of children and their participation in life skills programmes and competency development programmes like responsible decision making, communication skills, problem solving, anger management as well as participation in constructive leisure time.
The Quarterly Newsletter used to get published regularly by the Juvenile Justice Committee of the High Court till 2019 but it was discontinued during COVID-19 pandemic. Now, its publication has been resumed with release of the latest issue ‘Sishu Surakhya’ on September 22, 2023. The publication aims to highlight pertinent issues and solutions thereof through the writings of various stakeholders.