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THE STATUS OF CHILDREN IN INDIA
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Concerned about the sizes of the periodic reports submitted by the governments, the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its 30th session in May 2002 recommended the state parties “to submit periodic reports that are concise, analytical and focusing on key implementation issues...”. That the government of India fails to provide information about the actual status of the children in a size of about 500 pages report is disturbing. As this alternate report shows, it has more to do with the government’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the problems of the children in India and attempt to mislead the CRC Committee about the real situation of children in India.

Juvenile Justice: The adoption of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000 is one of the concrete measures taken by the government of India since the consideration of initial report by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2000. The government...flaunts the enactment of the Act.

However, the implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000 remains problematic. A large number of state governments such as Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam etc are yet to set up the juvenile justice boards, protective homes, certified homes, special homes, child welfare committees or children’s homes...The Jammu and Kashmir state government is yet to take any measure to implement the Juvenile Justice Act of 1986, let alone replace it with Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Act), 2000. The Jammu and Kashmir state assembly extended Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, in the state by abolishing the Children Act of 1970 in the year 1997. However, as of August 2003, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has not taken any initiative to implement the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986. The Juvenile detainees are being kept in the district jail of Jammu along with hardened criminals. The enactment of any legislation therefore does not guarantee its enforcement.

Non-Discrimination: In its first periodic report, the government of India makes generic reference to various constitutional provisions and legislations including the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 to combat caste discrimination...Untouchability was abolished under Article 17 of the constitution of India. Yet, caste discrimination is alive and kicking...

As of February 2, 2003, only ten states out of 28 states and 7 union territories have established special courts under the SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The remaining states and union territories have notified the existing courts of sessions as special courts for the trial of offences under the Act. The courts in India are already over-burdened with 3.5 million and 40 thousand cases at the high courts level in 2002 according to the report of the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs. The designation of the court of sessions as special courts further adds to judicial delay in India. This is despite the fact that the crimes against the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have been increasing exponentially...

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