National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

Context: The Supreme Court sought a response from the country’s apex child rights body, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), to its request to eight States to “produce” children living in care homes before the local child welfare committees for their “immediate repatriation” with their families.

  • The court wondered whether the NCPCR could issue such general directions to the States without considering the education, health, safety of the children, the consent of their parents and their economical situation.

Analysis

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007.
  • NCPCR is a statutory body under the CPCR Act, 2005 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

Composition of the Commission

  • This commission has a chairperson and six members of which at least two should be women.
  • All of them are appointed by Central Government for three years.
  • The maximum age to serve in commission is 65 years for Chairman and 60 years for members.
  • The Central Government can remove the Chairperson from his office on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity
  • The Chairperson of NCPCR should be a person of eminence who has done outstanding work on promoting the child rights.

Functions of the Commission

  • It examines and reviews the safeguards provided by the laws for protection of child rights and recommends measures for the same to government.
  • It can submit a report annually or as it deems fit, for recommendation of these measures.
  • It can insure into the violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in these cases.
  • While inquiring into any such matter, the NCPCR has powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters:
  1. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath.
  2. Requiring the discovery and production of any document
  3. Receiving evidence on affidavits
  4. Requisitioning any public record from any court or office and
  5. Issuing summons for the examination of witnesses or documents.
  • However, National Commission is prohibited from inquiring into any matter which is pending before a State Commission for Protection of Child Rights or any other Statutory Commission.
  • To study treaties and other international instruments.
  • To inspect any juvenile custodial home or any other place of residence or institution where children are detained or lodged for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection
  • To inquire into complaints and take Suo moto notice of matters relating to child rights.
  • To inquire into complaints relating to the child’s right to free and compulsory education under Right to Education Act, 2009.
  • To monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and POCSO Rules 2012.

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