On Monday, i.e. September 21st, 2020, the High Court of Calcutta passed an order directing the Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department along with the Judicial Secretary for the submission of a report. The said report is to disclose the progress regarding the “appointment of the Chairperson as well as other members of the selection committee of Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards” across the several districts of the State of West Bengal.
A Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice Harish Tandon and Soumen Sen heard the matter. The Hon’ble Chief Justice allotted the matter to the Division Bench. This was as a result of an order dated March 16, 2020. By the said order, numerous authorities were impleaded as parties in a PIL. Consequently, a direction was passed that would disclose the process that was adopted to constitute Child Welfare Committees in all the districts and sub-divisions. The PIL also urged the court to shed light on various details like the condition of security, the infrastructure of the building, if the diet chart is maintained. Such a diet chart is mandated by the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015. These details were to be submitted by an affidavit within 3 weeks from the submission of the PIL.
During the hearing of the matter, the Judicial Secretary, and the Director, Child Rights and Trafficking also appeared before the Bench. The letter of the Registrar General-in-charge was forwarded by the Registrar to the Judicial Secretary. The contents of the letter disclosed the decision made by the Hon’ble Chief Justice to appoint/nominate the retired Justice of the Court as the Chairperson of this selection committee of Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards.
The Allahabad counterpart of the Kolkata HC has taken a decision to let the current members of the Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards continue their functions and duties until the new office-bearers take charge.
“Also, in order to de-congest child care institutions in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court in the month of April had directed the Juvenile Justice Boards and Children Courts to consider releasing all children alleged to be in conflict with the law on temporary bail, unless there are clear and valid reasons for the application of the proviso to Section 12, JJ Act, 2015”.
Hon’ble Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta passed the order in a suo moto cases regarding the conditions of children protection homes across the country.