Aqib Ali

Srinagar, Aug 11: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday directed government to make Juvenile Justice Boards in each district of the state functional.

Hearing a Public interest, a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the Law Department to create posts of 22 Judicial Magistrates (First Class) on priority basis so the JJBs are made functional.

According to Kashmir Glory, the court passed the direction after being informed that the concerned department issued advertisement notice but got poor response. Now a fresh notice has been issued to fill up these 22 posts.

The division bench according to Kashmir Glory said that it is clearly indicated in the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act that it is for State Government to fulfill the requirement and setup the Juvenile Justices Boards across the state.

The Court has also made in clear that any juvenile conflicting with law be not kept in lockup or jail as, court said, the act provides it.

It also directed the Secretary State Legal Services Authority to visit in each district and find out whether all basic facilities as also legal aid are being provided to juveniles. The Court said that ifany juvenile was found in jail, he shall be shifted to juvenile home immediately.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation, which was initiated by one Tanvi Ahuja, who has since expired. Consequently the title of the PIL has now been altered to “Court on its own motion v. State of Jammu and Kashmir and others”.

Ahuja was a Haryana-based social worker and she had stated that thousands of juveniles were arrested over the years under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Ranbir Penal Code instead of being tried under the state Juvenile Justice Act.