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Child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly has filed a joint writ petition with Prof. Shanta Sinha, the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in the Supreme Court on reports of illegal detention of many children in Kashmir, thus seeking judicial intervention in the matter.

The petition seeks court’s directions to the government for a status report on actual number of detentions, injuries and deaths of children and monitoring of detention incidents by the Juvenile Justice Committee of the J&K High Court.

The petition submits that reports of violations of different kinds “are serious enough to merit judicial review of the situation with respect to children and to enforce and monitor certain immediate corrective action.”

Specific reports of children being detained, chased including one where an 11 year old boy was “kept in detention without any formal records between 5th August and 11th August 2019” have given rise to the need of this petition.

The petition states that Kashmir is going through an ‘extraordinary situation’ and it is imperative that the court ensures that no excesses take place against the ‘most vulnerable’, keeping in view constitutional principles and International Child rights commitments.

The petition alleges several instances of maiming and injuries caused to children and fears “deep and everlasting impact on the psychological well-being of children and by ignoring the urgency of the situation we may ‘lose’ a generation of citizens to state excesses.”

It has invoked state obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which India has ratified in 1992, which recalls the ‘Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict, in its Preamble and recognizes that, in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration’.

The petitioners have prayed that “the Supreme Court act as parens patriae to the children and direct the government to submit a status report on actual detentions, injuries and deaths of children between  August 5th 2019 to the present day.”

While demanding compensation for the injured children, the petition also seeks the implementation of Integrated Child Protection System, and fortnightly review of care plans by the J&K High Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee.

–India Legal Bureau

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