SC settles the dispute between National and State child rights Commission

The Supreme Court in a judgement on Monday brought to closure to a dispute between the National and State Commission of West Bengal for Protection of child rights over jurisdiction in a case to conduct an enquiry in child right issues.

The facts of the case were such that when there had been reports in various newspapers that there had been large scale trafficking of children in a child care institution based in Jalpaiguri of West Bengal, the NCPCR(National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) took cognizance of the same and sent an enquiry team to the institution and summoned the ADGP, who refused to appear in front of the commission and filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court challenging the Commission’s jurisdiction.

The Calcutta HC had stayed the order of the NCPCR by observing that the state commission had already started dealing with the issue.

The present SC judgement held that it was not up to the ADGP to question the jurisdiction of the NCPCR and that when requested with information related to child rights issues, he must respectfully provide all the requested information and co-operate with the National and State Commissions for protection of child rights.

Noting the dispute between NCPCR and WBCPCR the judgement began by criticising the ego clash between the two commissions and observed that the Commissions have ignored the issue of protecting children for which they have been set up. The bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose further held –
“There is no ouster of jurisdiction of any commission. The only constraint placed by Section 13(2) of the Commission for Protection of Civil Rights Act, 2005 is that if the state has already started an inquiry, the National Commission should naturally refrain from inquiring into the matter. This, however, does not mean that the National Commission cannot go into the other larger questions which may have led to the specific incidents of violation of child rights which need to look into.

Hon’ble Supreme Court finally held that the National Commission had started the inquiry before the State commission got involved in the issue.

Kaustubh Kulkarni

Law student at ILS Law College, Pune
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