The Karnataka High Court has said that it is the obligation of the State Government to constitute for every district one or more Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) for exercising the powers and discharging its functions relating to children in conflict with law within the meaning of Juvenile Justice Act.
A bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty while hearing a suo-motu petition seeking implementation of directions issued by the Apex Court in the case of Sampurna Behura and the petition filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan on Tuesday, issued following directions for improving the functioning of the JJ boards in the state.
The directions are:
- The State Government shall ensure that all the JJBs are located in the premises as provided in sub-rule (1) of Rule 6 of the Model Rules
The court has observed "It is necessary for the State Government to ensure that the sittings of the JJBs should take place at the places specified in sub-rule (1) of Rule 6 of the Model Rules to achieve the objects of the JJ Act. If, in any of the districts, the location of JJBs does not satisfy the test of sub-rule (1) of Rule 6, necessary arrangements will have to be made by the State Government."
- The State Government shall prepare a uniform model design of the offices of JJBs, taking into consideration the requirements of the JJ Act and Model Rules and in particular, sub-rule (4) and (6) of Rule 6 of the Model Rules. In addition, the State Government shall formulate a uniform policy regarding the infrastructure to be provided to each JJBs and staffing pattern of each JJBs. The State Government shall do so, after holding consultation with all the stakeholders including KSLSA. The model design and policy regarding infrastructure and staffing pattern shall be placed before the Court within a period of one month from today.
- Till this Court passes final order regarding the standard design and infrastructure, the State Government shall take all possible steps to provide proper infrastructure, staff and equipment to JJBs. The State Government shall fix outer time limit for making compliance which shall be placed on record in the form of an affidavit within a period of one month from today.
- The State Government shall place on record, within a period of one month from today, whether any steps have been taken by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights for monitoring and implementation of the provisions of the JJ Act after taking into consideration the provisions of Rule 91 of the Model Rules. The steps taken by the State Commission for monitoring and implementation of the JJ Act shall be placed on record along with compliance report within a period of one month from today.
- The State Government shall consider conducting social audit of the performance of the institutions under the JJ Act and implementation of the State policies regarding children;
- The State Government shall report to this Court the steps taken for implementation of Rule-92 of the Model Rules, in the light of the discussion made in this order.
- The State Government shall provide all the requisite infrastructure to each JJB for conduct of video conference hearing;
The court has directed the state to submit its compliance reports within a period of one month from today to the court. The court has now posted the matter for further hearing On March 2.