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Set up more Juvenile Justice Boards to tackle backlog: Supreme Court

Scrutinizing a report on the status of JJBs, the SC pointed out the situation in Pune. There are 1, 935 pending cases and a single JJB.

Written by Aamir Khan | Mumbai |
August 9, 2015 12:59:37 am
juvenile justice board, supreme court, JJB, juvenile crime, NALSA, PIL, mumbai news, indian express The SC also found the per-week sittings of the boards inadequate.

Terming the more than 1.30 lakh cases of juvenile crimes pending across the country as alarming, the Supreme Court recently observed that there could be more than one Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) in the same district to tackle the backlog.

Scrutinizing a report on the status of JJBs, the SC pointed out the situation in Pune. There are 1, 935 pending cases and a single JJB.

“There seems to be no reason why there should be only one Juvenile Justice Board in that district,” said Justices Madan B Lokur and Uday Umesh Lalit.

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The court directed High Courts and state legal authorities to set up adequate number of JJBs, wherever necessary.

A PIL had sought proper implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act.

On the SC’s earlier directions, the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) filed a report on the current status and functioning of all JJBs and 21 states and two union territories are appearing before the apex court.

The court said ideally there should not be more than 100 pending so they can be disposed of in the stipulated four months. “This will mean many Juvenile Justice Boards will have to streamline their working,” the SC said.

The SC also found the per-week sittings of the boards inadequate.

“For example, in Pune district, the Juvenile Justice Board meets thrice a week,” said the court. Given the large number of pending inquiries, the SC said it will be appropriate if the JJB holds its sittings daily.

The Supreme Court mentioned the need of high courts to pass instructions to JJBs for conducting daily hearings so that cases do not pile up.

Rule 9 (3) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007 asks boards to meet daily unless there is low pendency or an order to that effect.
The NALSA pointed out that in Assam and Odisha, the average distance between the JJB and the observation home is 400 km and 450 km respectively.

“It is required that the Juvenile Justice Board sit in the vicinity of the observation home,” the SC said.

The distance between boards and the observation homes for juveniles could have a psychological impact if residents of observation homes are unable to meet their parents or relatives, the SC noted.

It directed state governments to ensure homes are set up in close proximity to the boards.

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