The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to look into the allegations of illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of abrogation of the provisions under Article 370 raised in a petition before it.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer asked the committee to submit a report after probing the allegations within a week.
The plea was filed before the court by eminent child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly, and Shanta Sinha, a professor and first Chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR).
On the allegations of the petitioner that people do not have access to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the apex court had sought a response from its Chief Justice.
The apex court, however, said that it has also got some conflicting report on the issue and said that it will not pass any observation of the report sent by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice.
The Bench said that it was entertaining the petition as the matter involves children.
The petition sought judicial intervention in the issue stating that with regard to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, there have been certain reports specific to children, which describe violations of very different kinds, ranging in seriousness from the potential loss of life and liberty of the child to being emotionally and intellectually drawn into the conflict.
The petition stated that the Children in the Kashmir valley are regularly being detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
The petition sought the court to ask for a status report and direct the Juvenile Justice Committee of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to monitor incidents of detention.
All the children who are currently detained be produced before the Juvenile Justice Committee of the J & K High Court and brought under their care and supervision, so that they may be provided with the necessary support, the plea demanded.
The plea sought payment of compensation to children who have been illegally detained and also to the families of children who have died.
The petition referred to various newspaper reports regarding the illegal detention of children in the valley.
"The situation in Kashmir today is urgent and disturbing from the perspective of children's wellbeing. It would appear from the reports that the state is acting in violation of both specific laws with respect to children and also of constitutional principles and International Child rights commitments," the petition stated.
It added, "With the abrogation of Article 370 and the consequent passing of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 the immediate safety and protection of Kashmiri children become the responsibility of the Union Government."
The petition also said that such extraordinary situations have a 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 sought a direction that government to file a status report detailing the current whereabouts, and the medical (both psychological and physical) status be provided on the specific children described in the petition, who have been detained or were detained and who have been beaten up in custody.
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