India is a signatory to various treaties adopted by the United Nations, and when it comes to child rights, two of them are binding upon the nation:
- Declaration on Survival, Protection and Development of Children; Adopted in UNGA Summit in 1990, and;
- Convention on the Rights of the Child; Acceded by India on 11 December 1992.
In furtherance of its duty, Indian state adopted National Charter for Children, 2003 and enacted Commission for Child Rights Protection Act, 2005.
The act establishes Commission for Child Rights at both National and State level(s) and provides with their powers and functions.
Some of the frequently asked questions about the statute are:
Q1. What is National Commission for Child Rights Protection?
It is a statutory body established in March 2007 by virtue of Section 3 of the Act and constitutes of a chairman and 6 members. The chairman is appointed by the Central Government under Section 4.
The chairman, however can be removed by Central Government under Section 7. The grounds for removal include the following:
- is adjudged an insolvent; or
- engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office; or
- refuses to act or becomes incapable of acting; or(d) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; or
- has so abused his office as to render his continuance in office detrimental to the public interest; or
- is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which in the opinion of the Central Government involves moral turpitude; or
- is, without obtaining leave of absence from the Commission, absent from three consecutive meetings of the Commission.
Q2. Are State commissions also set up?
Section 17 states about the State commission(s) to be set up by respective state government(s) and appoint the chairman and members of the commission.
Q3. What are the functions of Commission for Child Rights Protection?
Section 13 lists out the functions of the commissions:
Examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation;
Present to be central government, annually and at such other intervals, as the commission may deem fit, reports upon working of those safeguards;
Inquire into violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in such cases;
Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disaster, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography and prostitution and recommend appropriate remedial measures;
Look into the matters relating to the children in need of special care and protection including children in distress, marginalized and disadvantaged children, children in conflict with law, juveniles children without family and children of prisoners and recommend appropriate remedial measures;
Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodical review of existing policies, programmes and other activities on child rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation in the best interest of children;
Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights;
Spread child rights literacy among various section of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminar and other available means;
Inspect or cause to be inspected any juveniles custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution meant for children, under the control of the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority, including any institution run by a social organization; Where children are detained or lodged for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection and take up with these authorities for remedial action, if found necessary;
Inquire into complaints and take suo moto notice of matter relating to:
- Deprivation and violation of child rights;
- Non implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children;
- Non compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring welfare of the children and provide relief to such children;
Or take up the issues rising out of such matters with appropriate authorities.
Q4. What are the powers of the Commission?
Section 14 gives out the powers of the commission as under:
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
- Discovery and production of any document;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits;
- Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; and
- Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.
- Forward any case to magistrate as same as under Section 346 of CrPC.
In addition to these, section 35 and 36 provides with the power to make rules for the Central Government and for the State governments, respectively. These rules are primarily with regards to internal affairs of the commissions such as terms and conditions of service, procedure to be followed by commission, powers and duties to be exercised by member secretary of the commission etc.
Q5. What are reports of the commission for?
The National commission is supposed to submit an annual report and any other report as it may deem necessary to the members. The government shall then, lay down the report before the respected houses and take necessary actions. (Section 16)
The State Commission(s) also is supposed to submit an annual report and special report to the respective state government which is to be presented before the respective legislature along with memorandum explaining the actions taken or proposed to be taken on the lines of the report. (Section 23)
Q6. What is Children’s court for?
Chapter V of the Act establishes Children’s court for speedy trials of offences against children. The State Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of High Court specify any court in the state or in the district, as may be deemed necessary, to be Children’s court.
The State Government may also appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for trying the cases in this court.
Q7. Can there be any case against Government or the Commission(s) themselves?
Section 31 lays down that no suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall run against the government or the commission or its members if anything is done in good faith or in pursuance of the provisions of the Act.
The Author, Tanya Tikiya is 3rd Year student of BALLB (H) at Amity Law School, Delhi. She is currently interning with LatestLaws.com.