Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: The present application was filed seeking to direct Respondent 1 to expeditiously fill the vacant positions of Chairpersons and Members in the Child Welfare Committees (‘CWCs’) in Delhi, within a fixed time period. The Division Bench of Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain, JJ., directed the Government of Delhi to complete all the formalities of selection process in CWCs and Juvenile Justice Boards (‘JJBs’) on or before 15-04-2024.

It was submitted that most of the CWCs in Delhi were not operating with their complete quorum and that the position of JJBs was also the same as that of the CWCs. It was also submitted that understaffing of CWCs and JJBs pose a significant hindrance in achieving justice and rehabilitation for vulnerable children in need of care and protection and with limited personnel, crucial tasks such as conducting inquiries for matters concerning children, making Individual Child Care Plans (‘ICRs’), conducting Social Investigation Reports (‘SIRs’), etc. were delayed or inadequately addressed.

It was stated that the delay in timely addressal of rehabilitation and repatriation procedures directly impacted the well-being and rights of children, as they remained in vulnerable situations for prolonged periods without adequate support and intervention. It was also stated that the absence of a full-fledged committee not only affected the efficiency of decision making but also undermined the comprehensive care and protection mandated by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

It was further stated that Circular Dated 28112023 revealed that in 6 out of 11 CWCs, position of all Chairpersons and most of the Members have become vacant as of 31122023 due to the completion of the three-year tenure and these 6 CWCs were currently operating with officio/acting Chairpersons and had 16 vacant positions of Members.

The Court noted that the applications were pending before the Department for scrutinization and would take some time. Thus, the Court directed the Government of Delhi to complete all the formalities of selection process in CWCs and JJBs on or before 15-04-2024, failing which, the Chief Secretary, Government of Delhi should appear before the Court on the next date of hearing to explain as to why the order passed by this Court was not complied with.

The matter would next be listed on 25-04-2024.

[Court on its Own Motion v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2024 SCC OnLine Del 1344, Order dated 23-02-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

For the Petitioner: Anant Kumar Asthana, Amicus Curiae

For the Respondents: Satyakam, ASC; Vivek Goyal, CGSPC; Avnish Ahlawat, Standing Counsel; H.S. Phoolka, Senior Advocate; Taniya Ahlawat, Nitesh Kumar Singh, Laavanya Kaushik, Aliza Alam, Mohnish Sehrawat, Pradyut Kashyap, Gokul Sharma, Shivam Singh, S.K. Sethi, Prabhsahay Kaur, Rachna Tyagi, Taruna Panwar, Tanvi Singh, Surpreet Kaur, Mehak Rankawat, Bir Inder Singh, Advocates; Hemant Mehta, Legal cum Probation Officer from Department of Women & Child Development

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