The child rights commission has decided to initiate a plan to suggest that the hearing of the Juvenile Justice Board and of the cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act be held according to the provisions of the model guidelines issued by the ministry of woman and child development in 2013.
The adviser to the administrator, Vijay Kumar Dev, had asked the Child Welfare Commission (CWC) to provide a plan to the administration so that the required infrastructure can be built.
During the inauguration of a child rights workshop, CWC officials and advocates had said that UT is not following these guidelines.
Chairperson of Child Rights Commission professor Devi Sirohi said she and some advocates are preparing a proposal to be submitted to the adviser next week.
As per the guidelines notified in September 2013, the sessions court hearing a case registered under the POCSO Act, should have a separate waiting area for the complainant. “There should be a separate room where the child should be questioned in a friendly manner and not grilled like other victims,” said Sirohi. “At present, the victim and the accused come face to face and that can damage the fate of the case and the mental status of the minor,” she added.
The Juvenile Justice Board should not be held in the same court complex where the other accused also come for deposition. “The Juvenile Justice Board, according to JJ Act guidelines, should be held in a separate building,” said Manjit Kaur, an advocate preparing the proposal. Kaur that they are enlisting the provisions under the model guidelines under Section 39 of the POCSO Act. “The guidelines say every question asked to a minor, either an accused or a victim, should be routed through the judge. The child should not be heard in the courtroom. The judge and the police in the Juvenile Justice Board must be in civil dresses.”
Sirohi said, “We would suggest that the juveniles be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board through video-conferencing. The facility can be put up either at Snehalaya in Maloya village or at the observation home in Sector 25”.
Advocate Manjit Kaur said, “Only Delhi’s Patiala House court complex is following the model. I don’t think this model is being followed any where else.”
What the Guidelines say
* List cases soon and avoid adjournments
* The child should be communicated in an understandable language
* Consider special measures
* The child is able to exercise his/her right to be accompanied by an adult
* Chart all stages of children’s evidence
* The child should be given an opportunity to visit the court to familiarise with it before the trial
* Children have the right to be heard in any proceedings
* Children have the right to information
* Ensure that camera angles will not permit the witness to see the defendant
* The judge or magistrates can always see the witness over the live videolink
* Public prosecutor, judges and magistrates may also ask if the child would like to meet them before the trial starts
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