The Colloquium seeks to engage with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, pertaining to the responsibilities of the Juveline Justice Board (JJB) and the rehabilitative dispositions under Section 18.
A two-day Judicial Colloquium on Juvenile Justice was held at National Law University, Odisha. Ms. Renate Winter, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva delivered the keynote address. The inaugural address was given by Hon’ble Justice Madan B. Lokur, Judge, Supreme Court of India & Chair, Juvenile Justice Committee. The inaugural session also included speeches by Ms. Henriette Ahrens, Deputy Director, UNICEF, India, Ms. Paola Riva Gapany, Director, IDE, Sion, Switzerland and Hon’ble Justice Vineet Saran, Chief Justice of Odisha & Chancellor, National Law University, Odisha.
Two Days Seven Sessions
A total of seven sessions were conducted in the two days. The first day witnessed three sessions. There were deliberations on International and Domestic framework on Juvenile Justice in the first session, talks on restorative (juvenile) justice in the second session and discussions on International Executive Course in Juveline Justice.
The second day of the colloquium included four sessions. Session 4 dealt with diversion in juvenile justice, session 5 included role of juvenile justice board in administration of justice, in session 6, there were talks on the challenges in the administration of Juvenile Justice in India and possible solutions and in the last session, there were deliberations on the significance of social investigation reports and individual care plan.
The judicial colloquium on juvenile justice intended to serve as a platform for deliberation on normative standards at the domestic and international level. It aimed to examine restorative justice and diversion – two practices that are increasingly being effectively used by several countries to respond to children in conflict with a law – with a view to understand the possibilities of their application in India in keeping with international standards.
The colloquium engaged with the existing implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 vis-à-vis children in conflict with the law. The discussion was structured around the themes of legal aid, rehabilitation, preliminary assessment, rehabilitative dispositions, working of a multi-disciplinary JJB, Social Investigation Reports, and Individual Care Plans. Participants of the colloquium also deliberated on the modules developed by National Law University, Odisha in collaboration with University of Geneva, Switzerland and IDE, Sion, Switzerland, for an International Course on Juvenile Justice.
The event began with inaugural address, which was delivered by Prof. (Dr.) Srikrishna Deva Rao, the Vice Chancellor of National Law University Odisha. Prof. Rao underlined the purpose of the colloquium: to discuss about the current standards of juvenile justice at the domestic and international level and attempt to examine how to implement the few best international practices in India, the restorative justice and diversion.
In the inaugural session, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chair, Juvenile Justice Committee began his address by saying that there has been recognition of rights of child in India, but there is still more room and scope for improvement. India has done a lot with respect to juvenile justice, but there is still more to be done, including diversion, restorative justice, rehabilitation, alternatives for detention and more.
Implementation of laws must be looked at in a positive manner, and implementation of good laws and bad laws must also be considered, he stated. He also mentioned that the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was a good act, but it was not properly implemented, and because of this, the children between 2000 and 2015 (when the new act replaced the old one) were affected. Because of this, number of crimes increased and hence the laws became stricter to remedy the situation, he said.
Henriette Ahrens, Deputy Representative, UNICEF, India said that this colloquium is bringing in the best national and international experts to see how this can be earnest for outcomes for children all over India. The “Justice for Children” approach is to ensure that all children have access to justice not merely as a recipient but also as a participant of the system and to be better served and protected by the system within the ambit of international norms and standards
Paolo Riva Gapany, Director, Ide, Sion, Switzerland talked about the International Institute for the Rights of Child (IDE). IDE in French, is a centre for studies for child rights, which aims at conducting training activities and raising awareness activities in Switzerland. The institute does not train parents or children, but the professionals who work with children. The institute has two main characteristics, firstly, institute’s work is at the academic level in an interdisciplinary way and secondly, they have a very keen interest in juvenile justice.
Justice Vineet Saran, Chief Justice of Odisha High Court and Chancellor of National Law University Odisha said that if a child goes wrong in want of proper care, protection and nurture, it is indeed the fault of the society at large. Children need proper protection, nourishment and a healthy environment to become a useful and responsible citizen to serve the nation. Juvenile justice is the system which aspires to protect all the children and to bring them into the ambit of protection besides those who are in conflict with law.
Ms. Justice Renate Winter, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva talked about the need for a juveline justice judge. For knowing the environment of the child, the judge cannot run behind the child, check in with the family or even check in with the school. We need people to do it for the judges.
A juvenile justice judge without people to assist him is like a fish without water. The very existence of a juvenile justice judge is one thing that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is adamant about. This is because a normal non-specialized judge is insufficient for their lack of time for the children. She also raised the issues of death penalty and restorative justice.
Justice S.K. Mishra, Judge, Odisha High Court and chairperson of juvenile justice committee thanked Justice Lokur on behalf of children of India for making juvenile justice a movement in India.
The Judicial Colloquium was attended by Judges and Chairpersons of Juvenile Justice Committees of High Courts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, UP, Tripura, Jharkhand and Odisha. Participants will include Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, Directors of the State Judicial Academy from the above-mentioned States, Member-Secretary, National Legal Services Authority, Delhi, and Principal Magistrate and Members of Juvenile Justice Boards in Odisha.