The Supreme Court on Monday expressed displeasure over the collection and non-utilisation of juvenile justice funds by various states and Union Territories, saying it appeared children of this country were “not relevant”.
The top court made the observation when the Centre placed before it data on money collected and spent by various states and Union Territories under the juvenile justice funds. “Nobody has done anything. It appears that children of India are not relevant, as per the states,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
The bench was hearing a PIL seeking implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and its rules. The petition has raised the issue of alleged apathy by the governments in implementing the welfare measure. During the hearing, the bench asked the counsel appearing for the Centre regarding the money collected under the fund. The Centre’s counsel told the court that in states like Assam and Andhra Pradesh, the process of creating the fund was going on, while in Bihar, the money collected under this fund was Rs 65,000.
He said Chandigarh had Rs 10 lakh in the juvenile justice fund and the administration had spent Rs 1.90 lakh out of it. At this, the bench asked, “Why has the Centre not given funds?” The lawyer said the money under the juvenile justice fund was to be given by the respective states and Union Territories.
Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that each state and Union Territory could give Rs 50 crore in the juvenile justice fund and the amount could be used for rehabilitation of the children. “For children who come out of the juvenile justice board, there is no rehabilitation fund. The Centre can work out a scheme for there rehabilitation,” he said.
The bench reserved its judgment on the plea. The apex court had in August asked the Centre to file an affidavit indicating whether the state commissions for the protection of child rights and state child protection societies have been set up in each state and union territory.
It had also asked the government to indicate in its affidavit certain other issues, including whether the juvenile justice board and child welfare committees were set up in every district and if not, the names of districts where these are yet to be constituted.