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Children's Court


Children's Court
Children's Court

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Definition

Section 2(20) - “Children’s Court” means a court established under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006) or a Special Court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (32 of 2012), wherever existing and where such courts have not been designated, the Court of Sessions having jurisdiction to try offences under the Act.



Powers of Children’s Court

Section 19 delineates the powers vested in the Children’s Court. Upon receiving the preliminary assessment from the Board as per Section 15, the Children’s Court is empowered to make two distinct decisions:


Firstly, it can determine whether there is a necessity to try the child as an adult, adhering to the procedural requirements outlined in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. This decision is made while considering the special requirements of the child, ensuring a fair trial, and maintaining a conducive atmosphere for the child.


Secondly, if the Children’s Court concludes that trying the child as an adult is unnecessary, it can conduct an inquiry akin to that of the Board and issue appropriate orders in alignment with the provisions specified in Section 18.


Moreover, it is mandated that the final order issued by the Children’s Court concerning a child in conflict with the law must include an individualized care plan aimed at the child’s rehabilitation. This plan entails subsequent follow-ups by either a probation officer, the District Child Protection Unit, or a social worker.


Additionally, the Children’s Court is responsible for ensuring that a child found in conflict with the law is placed in a secure environment, referred to as a "place of safety," until they reach the age of twenty-one. During this time, the child is entitled to receive reformative services, including education, skill development, counseling, behavior modification therapy, and psychiatric support.


The Court must also oversee the periodic submission of follow-up reports, conducted annually by either a probation officer, the District Child Protection Unit, or a social worker. These reports evaluate the child's progress in the place of safety and ascertain that there is no mistreatment or abuse inflicted upon them.


Furthermore, all reports generated under subsection (4) are to be forwarded to the Children’s Court for record-keeping and any necessary follow-up actions. This ensures ongoing oversight and accountability regarding the child's welfare and progress within the justice system.

 
 

Child attained age of twenty-one years and yet to complete prescribed term of stay in place of safety

Section 20 addresses the situation where a child in conflict with the law reaches the age of twenty-one before completing their prescribed stay in a place of safety:


When such a child turns twenty-one but hasn't finished their designated period in the place of safety, the Children’s Court is mandated to initiate a follow-up process. This involves an assessment by either a probation officer, the District Child Protection Unit, a social worker, or the Court itself, as necessary.


The aim is to determine whether the child has undergone positive changes and is ready to reintegrate into society. This assessment takes into account the progress records of the child, as maintained under section 19(4), and may also involve evaluations by relevant experts.


Following this evaluation, the Children’s Court has two options:


  • Firstly, it can decide to release the child under certain conditions deemed appropriate by the Court. These conditions may include appointing a monitoring authority to oversee the child's behavior and progress for the remainder of the prescribed stay period.


  • Alternatively, the Court may determine that the child should complete the remaining portion of their term in a jail setting.


Additionally, each State Government is required to establish and maintain a list of monitoring authorities and procedures, as prescribed by law. These authorities play a crucial role in ensuring the effective monitoring and support of children transitioning from the justice system back into society.



Proceeding under Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure not to apply against Child

Section 22 specifies that despite any provisions within the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or any prevailing preventive detention laws, no legal proceedings shall be initiated nor any orders passed against any child under Chapter VIII of the mentioned Code.


This means that the regular legal procedures outlined in Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deal with the trial of summons cases by Magistrates, will not be applicable to children.


Instead, any legal matters concerning children will be handled in accordance with the procedures and provisions outlined specifically for juveniles in conflict with the law. This reflects the recognition of the unique needs and circumstances of children within the justice system, ensuring that their rights and interests are protected appropriately.



No joint proceedings of child in conflict with law and person not a child

Section 23 emphasizes the separation of legal proceedings between children in conflict with the law and adults. It states that despite any provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or any other law, there will be no combined legal proceedings involving a child accused of an offence and an adult.


This means that the legal process for children in conflict with the law must be distinct and separate from that of adults, ensuring that children are treated in accordance with their unique rights and requirements.



Provision with respect of run away child in conflict with law

Section 26 addresses the situation of a runaway child who is in conflict with the law:


If a child in conflict with the law runs away from a special home, observation home, place of safety, or from the care of a designated person or institution, any police officer is authorized to take charge of the child. Within twenty-four hours, the child must be brought before the Board that originally handled their case, if possible. If not, the child should be presented to the nearest Board.


The Board then investigates the reasons for the child's escape and decides on the appropriate course of action. This may involve returning the child to the institution or person they fled from, or placing them in another suitable facility or with another responsible individual.


Additionally, the Board may issue special directives deemed necessary for the child's best interests. Crucially, no further legal proceedings can be initiated against the child in this context, emphasizing the focus on addressing the underlying reasons for the child's runaway behavior and ensuring their welfare and rehabilitation.

 
 






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