HYDERABAD: “What should a judge do if a complainant withdraws a case against a juvenile but the latter absconds or fails to turn up? The law mandates that both the accused and the plaintiff be present at the hearing,” said AP High Court chief justice Madan B Lokur.
This was one of the issues discussed at the workshop on Roles and Responsibilities of Multi-disciplinary Stakeholders in Protecting Children on Sunday. While chairing a session, justice Lokur said, “I was earlier stationed in the North-East and on a trip I wished to meet a boy whose photo appeared in an in-house police mag.
The boy told me it was the first time anyone was talking to him for this long,” he recalled. He added that juveniles must be rehabilitated properly and society should change its attitude towards such children when they are re-integrated into the society.
“Coordination and collective efforts amongst administration officials, police and NGOs was important for addressing juvenile welfare,” justice Lokur said. “There is a lack of aftercare plan when a juvenile criminal has to be re-introduced into society. Having been isolated, they lack skills and confidence to face society and immediately lapse back into their old state,” said Bharati Ali, co-founder of Delhi-based NGO Haq.
Supreme Court judge Altamas Kabir called for changes in the existing education policies, referring to the recent incident of a 15-year-old student stabbing his teacher to death in Chennai. “What caused him to resort to this act? There is tremendous amount of pressure on children and time has come to make changes in existing education policies,” he said. The Child Labour (Abolition and Rehabilitation) Bill bans child labour in hazardous industries only regulates it in other industries.
“Policies need to be reworked and brought into harmony with each other.
The law is good but not good enough,” said M Sridhar from Nalsar. Minister for Women and Child Development, V Sunitha Laxma Reddy said it was the responsibility of all to ensure that every child is nurtured bereft of any threat and brought up to be a responsible citizen. “Children are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence besides trafficking,” chief secretary Pankaj Dwivedi said. Neela Gangadharan, secretary, Women and Child Development, special chief secretary (WCD) Chaya Ratan were also present