Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights received a phone call at around 5:30 pm on the evening of 18th November 09. The caller who identified himself as X and said he was calling from Chigaru , Gubbi Taluk, Tumkur District to alert the Commission about a child marriage that was going to take place the next morning much against the wishes of a young girl Y at the local Marriage hall. The pre-nuptial ceremonies had begun he added and that the to-be bride and bridegroom’s parties were in the said choultry. The Commission initially felt suspicious about the identity of the caller (whether he was a distraught lover) but it was done away with when the Commission returned his call asking X to reveal his identity. He claimed that he was 38 years old married man and a close relative of Y.

A member of the Commission promptly notified the Deputy Director (DD) of the Dept. of Women and Child Devt, Tumkur and asked him to visit the Shiva Parvati Kalyan Mantap where and inquire into the matter. The DD delegated the responsibility to the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) who in turn contacted the local Police Station and requested Sub-Inspector (SI) to join him at the choultry.

In the meanwhile another member of the Commission a contacted a local NGO Abhivruddhi Samaste (AS) and requested them to also intervene. By around 6.30 pm, the AS representatives, the CDPO as well as the Sub inspector of police reached the venue. The CDPO soon after reported to the Commission that the bride Y appeared to be around 15 years old. Arrangements were in full swing to marry her to one Z aged 26 years. The CDPO also reported that the paternal uncle of Z was one Mr.A, Circle Inspector of Whitefield, Bangalore and was refusing to cooperate with the request to submit the birth/school certificate of bride to-be and had disclosed that her name was “B” and not “Y”.

At around 8 pm in the evening the Commission received a call from the CDPO stating that the Circle Inspector was creating a commotion in the choultry and demanding that the CDPO submit a written complaint on receipt of which he would subject the age certificate of the girl. Further, he began threatening the CDPO that he would file a defamation case against him and the Commission. The Circle Inspector began abusing the NGO activists and asked them and the CDPO to vacate the scene.

In the meanwhile, the wedding party managed to change the name on the floral name board from “Y” to “B”. The CDPO and NGO activists got to know that B was the in fact Y’s older sister. The girl’s family, late in the evening agreed to submit the pre-university certificate of the girl B who they claimed was 18 years and 3 months of age.

The S.I then brought the NGO activists and the CDPO to Police Station to avoid any further altercations. The Circle Inspector also reached the police station. The CDPO then contacted the Commission and was directed to lodge a complaint at the Police Station in the name of the Commission. The complaint was filed and as night was closing in, the team decided to call it a day and meet the next morning at the choultry.

The next morning, the team was surprised to note that the marriage parties had vacated the choultry having cancelled the marriage. The matter was reported to the Commission and in the local newspapers and the television media.
The Commission has called for a status report from the Director WCD on the whereabouts of the minor girl and her well being and details of action initiated by the Govt. against the families of the girl and boy who were parties to getting the minor girl married.
The Commission is also seeking information from the Director, WCD on:

• Advocacy efforts made during the last two years by the Dept. to widely publicise the negative impact of child marriages as seen under The PCMA (Karnataka) Rules 2007, Rule No.9 (“The CMPO shall create awareness and sensitize the community about the provisions of the Act and its harmful effects on the issue of Child Marriage”) and the punishment spelled out in the PCM Act 2006, Sec. 10 and 11 (“a strict penalty will be prescribed for those performing, conducting, directing or abetting any child marriage, the guilty shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment extending upto a period of 2 years and shall be liable to a fine which may extend upto 1 Lakh Rupees”.)
• Advocacy efforts planned for the rest of the current year
• Whether copies of the CMP Act 2006, Rules and Notification dated 2.5.2008 has been disseminated to all the officers designated as PCM Officers and whether they have received orientation on the subject to enable them to intervene as per the provisions of the Act and the Karnataka Rules.
• While the CDPO, NGO and police SI need to be commended for their quick response and presence of mind, much has been learnt from this case for future interventions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mandate of State Child Rights Commissions: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009


•Monitoring of child’s right to education

31. (1) The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights constituted under section 3, or, as the case may be, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights constituted under section 17, of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, shall in addition to the functions assigned to them under that Act, also perform the following functions, namely:-

(a) examine and review the safeguards for rights provided by or under this Act and recommend measures for their effective implementation ;
(b) inquire into complaints relating to child’s right to free and compulsory education; and
(c) take necessary steps as provided under section 15 and 24 of the said Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act.

(2) The said Commission shall, while inquiring into any matters relating to right to free and compulsory education under clause (c) of sub-section (1), have the same powers as assigned to them respectively under section 15 and 24 of the said Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act.

(3) Where the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has not been constituted in a state, the appropriate Government may, for the purpose of performing the function specified in clause (a) to (c) of sub-section (1), constitute such authority, in such manner and subject to such terms and conditions, as may be prescribed.

•Redressal of grievances

32. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 31, any person having any grievance relating to the right of the child under this Act may make a written complaint to the local authority having jurisdiction.
(2) After receiving the complaint under sub-section (1), the local authority shall decide the matter within a period of three months after affording a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the parties concerned
(3) Any person arrived by the decision of the local authority may prefer an appeal to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights or the authority prescribed under sub-section (3) of section of 31, as the case may be.
(4) The appeal preferred under sub-section (3) shall be decided by State Commission for Protection of Child Rights or the authority prescribed under sub-section (3) of section of 31, as the case may be, as provided under clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 31.

Mandate of State Child Rights Commissions: Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006)


The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) was set up in July 2009 as a statutory body under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006), an Act of Parliament (December 2005) to protect, promote and defend child rights in the state.

The functions of the Commission as laid out in the Act are as follows:
1.The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely;
a.Examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
b.Present to Government, annually and at such other intervals, as the Commission may deem fit, Reports upon the working of those safeguards
c.Inquire into violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in such cases
d.Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disasters, domestic violence, HIV/ AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography, and prostitution and recommend appropriate remedial measures
e.Look into matters relating to children in need of special care and protection, including children in distress, marginalised and disadvantaged children, children in conflict with law, juveniles, children without family and children of prisoners and recommend appropriate remedial measures
f.Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodic review of existing policies, programmes, and other activities on child rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation in the best interest of children
g.Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights
h.Spread child rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for protection of these rights through publications, media, seminars and other available means
i.Promote, respect and seriously consider the views of children in its work and that of all Government Departments and Organizations dealing with children
j.Promote the incorporation of child rights into the school curriculum, teachers training and training of personnel dealing with children

2.Inspect or cause to be inspected any juvenile custodial home or any other place of residence or institution meant for children, under the control of the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority including any institution run by a social organization, where children are detained or lodged for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection and take up with these authorities for remedial action, if found necessary
a.Inquire into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters related to:
i.Deprivation and violation of child rights
ii.Non implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children
iii.Non compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring welfare of the children and to provide relief to such children or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities
b.Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of child rights and any other matter incidental to the above functions


The Commission, while enquiring into any matter, has all powers of the Civil Court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedures, 1908 and in particular, with respect to the following matters:
1.Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India an examining them on oath.
2.Requiring the discovery and production of any documents
3.Receiving evidence on Affidavits
4.Requisitioning of any Public Record or copy thereof from any Court of Office
5.Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents
6.Forwarding cases to Magistrates who have jurisdiction to try the same
7.On completion of inquiry, the Commission has the powers to take the following actions:
a.To recommend to concerned Government for initiation of proceedings for prosecution or other suitable action on finding any violation of child rights and provisions of law during the course of an inquiry
b.To approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary
c.To recommend to concerned Government or authority for grant of such interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as considered necessary


One of the Core Mandates of the Commission is to inquire into complaints of violations of child rights. The Commission is also required to take suo moto cognisance of serious cases of violation of child rights and to examine factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children.
1.Complaints may be made to the Commission in any language of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution
2.No fee shall be chargeable on such complaints
3.The complaint shall disclose a complete picture of the matter leading to the complaint
4.The Commission may seek further information/ affidavits as may be considered necessary


1.For the purpose of providing speedy trial of offences against children or of violation of child rights, the State Government may, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification, specify at least a court in the State or specify, for each district, a Court of Session to be a Children's Court to try the said offences:
2.For every Children's Court, the State Government shall, by notification, specify a
Public Prosecutor or appoint an advocate who has been in practice as an advocate for not less than seven years, as a Special Public Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting cases in that Court.