This episode features a discussion with Vasudev Sharma, who provides information relating to the newly-elected members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).
The primary criterion for election to this committee is this – the person should not have had any case registered against her/him with regard to any human rights infringement. The person should also have a minimum of 7 years of experience in any field of work related to children’s welfare and be a graduate in any field of study. There is also an age limit to abide by.
There is a principle behind electing people from the civil society to the CWC and JJB. This is to prevent lawyers from applying to most of the posts available, and thus, bringing in some balance. Involving lawyers in the committee is a positive sign because they help interpret the laws as well as legal procedures like warrants, summons, evidence, the Section 164, and more. But a negative is that a committee composed only of lawyers could become a very technical body and lack the nuance of humanitarian conversations. “This is not just a profession; there is a responsibility to handle along with the work,” Vasudev says.
In 2015, an amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was made, a change that made the statute more comprehensive when compared to the previous law. The newly-elected members’ first challenge will be to understand this Act thoroughly. The next challenge will be to work not individually but in tandem with organisations and groups like the DCPU, child line, police, and more.
Vasudev also explains the hurdles that he faced during his tenure as a committee member. He insists that the members, and the public in general, understand the Act contextually. It includes a lot of principles that need to be understood completely. Protection of children and ensuring their welfare should be the top priorities for each and everyone involved in the field and beyond.