The Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 was passed by the Parliament on the 20th of January, 2006. It is a Central Legislation and its objective is to set up Commissions at the National and State level to conduct speedy trials for offences committed against children or for the abuse of child rights and such other related matters. The Act extends to all of India, other than Jammu and Kashmir. The Act contains VII Chapters and 37 Sections.
India has signed various International Treaties against violation of child rights, one being The Convention on the Rights of the Child. This Convention makes it compulsory for all signatory States to take necessary steps for the protection of Child Rights as provided by the Treaty. The United Nations General Assembly Summit adopted a Declaration on Survival, Protection and Development of Children in 1990, in which India had also participated. India also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children on 11th of December, 1992. The term ‘child rights’ refers to all rights of children provided in this Convention. A child is a person between the age group of 0 to 18.
This Act provides for setting up a National Commission for protection of child rights. It shall consist of a Chairperson who is person eminent in promotion of welfare of child rights. There should be 6 other people experienced in education; child health, care, welfare or child development; juvenile justice or care of mistreated children; abolition of child labour; child psychology; and laws related to children. Of these 2 shall be women. The Chairperson and these 6 members shall hold the post for a period of 3 years. The Commission should conduct meetings regularly. It is to be guided by the Central Government and if ever any dispute arises between the Commission and the Government regarding a matter of national importance, the stand of the Government shall prevail over that of the Commission’s.
Section 13 provides the functions of this commission. The key functions and powers are to examine the legal safeguards provided by any law for the protection of child rights and measures taken for implementing these laws; to present periodic reports regarding the progress it’s made with the safeguards; carry out periodic reviews of policies, programmes and other related activities; and to question the violation of child rights and suggest the commencement of proceedings in such cases. They spread awareness regarding protection of child rights.It helps initiate measures to support children affected by terrorism, maltreatment, communal violence/riots, torture, natural disaster, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, exploitation, pornography and prostitution and conduct researches regarding their rights. The Commission has been entrusted with power of a civil court. All criminal cases brought before the commission shall be sent before the concerned Magistrate empowered with the jurisdiction to try it.
A State Commission should be set up in every state and its functions shall be same as those of the National Commission. It shall also consist of a Chairperson and 6 members skilled in various fields related to child rights. This commission shall submit periodic reports to the State Government regarding matters it considers of urgency and should be acted upon and cannot be waited till the submission of Annual Report.
The Act also refers to constituting of a Children’s Court in every State. This is referred to in Chapter V.The State Government has to declare a court in the State as a Children’s Court. This is only if a special court doesn’t already exist. Its purpose is to provide speedy trial against violation of child right and offences committed against children. The State Government should also appoint a Public Prosecutor or assign an advocate (who has practiced for 7 years or more) as Special Public Prosecutor.
This Act was amended once in 2006. The main difference brought about by the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006 is that the words “Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Human Resource Development” were replaced with “Minister in-charge of the Ministry or the Department of Women and Child Development”. In 2014, there has been an amendment on the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Rules.