HC to take up issue of child welfare committees

The Chief Justice of Madras High Court Indira Banerjee on Wednesday agreed to take up a suo motu public interest litigation petition on alleged absence of child welfare committees in all 32 districts in the State though they should be mandatorily established as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015.

Immediately after she occupied the dais, along with Justice P.T. Asha in court hall number 1, advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam made a mention of the incidents of gang-rape of a 11-year-old girl at Ayanavaram here and a 21-year-old Russian tourist in Tiruvannamalai on Tuesday. He urged the court to take suo motu cognisance of the incidents. However, the Chief Justice said it would not be appropriate to initiate suo motu PIL petition since it might affect the ongoing probe by the local police. Terming the incidents as most unfortunate, she said that the law should be allowed to take its own course in every such case.

When A. Narayanan of Change India, a non governmental organisation, claimed that child welfare committees, which have an obligation to provide support to victims, were not in place in many of the districts, Justice Banerjee directed the High Court Registry to take up the issue as a suo motu PIL petition.

In so far as a claim made by Chennai CWC counsel Sheik Meherunissa that the CWC here had not been given access to the victim, the Chief Justice ordered that the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority shall take steps to provide assistance to the child.

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