Despite a rise in the number of child abuse cases, the state of Telangana is yet to implement a functional State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR). The commission has been non-existent for the past one year, since the tenure of the previous members ended. As a result, the commission has been unable to provide rehabilitation to survivors of child marriages and sexual assault, alleges child rights activist Achyuta Rao.
On Tuesday, two incidents of alleged rape, one attempt to rape and two incidents of molestation were reported in Hyderabad with no support offered to the survivors.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was established by a Parliament Act in 2005 and mandates that every state should have its own established unit. Under the united Andhra Pradesh, the SCPCR was constituted in 2014. The commission is a six-member body to be headed by a chairperson. Among the six-members, at least one must be a woman.
Child rights activist from Balala Hakkula Sangham, Achyuta Rao, who was a former member of SCPCR, said that the commission has been defunct since February 2017, after the tenure of all the members expired. Though, the commission promptly issued a notification to recruit the new members, the board was dissolved after Achyuta Rao approached the High Court alleging that the constituted members had political affiliations.
Speaking to TNM, he said, â€śAfter much delay, they issued a notification and called for an interview in March. However, citing that the Assembly session had been extended by two days, the interviews were cancelled. Since then there has been no word regarding the interviews from the government.â€ť
He further said that constituting the board is of utmost priority. â€śThe commission must be constituted immediately. On Tuesday, five incidents of sexual assault of minor girls were reported. Had the commission been in existence, the survivors would have received help. The commission hasnâ€™t been around for the past year and survivors are not getting any help as a result. It is really worrying,â€ť he expressed.
Activist Shanta Sinha, former chairperson of NCPCR, too expressed her concern over the non-existence of SCPCR, â€śIt is mandatory to set up the SCPCR which is entrusted with the responsibilities of preventing child marriages, which includes the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and also the Right to Education. Without the SCPCR these children are being denied their rights.â€ť
â€śWith the number of rising cases of POCSO, we need the appropriate authority to protect the rights of the children. SCPCR has a significant role in protecting children and preventing them from being abused or denied education. The government needs to take this seriously and reconstitute SCPCR,â€ť urged Shanta.
Responsibilities of the Child Rights Commission:
- To examine laws/constitutional provisions to ensure that they protect child rights
- Provide the state government with recommendations to improve, correct the safeguards
- Inquire into child rights violations
- Examine risk factors for 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
- Look into the special care and protection of children from disadvantaged backgrounds
- Study and ensure implementations of child rights treaties
- Conduct research in the field of child rights
- Create awareness through various mediums
- Inspect any children's home or observations homes where children have been detained
- Investigate the violation of human rights or the failures of the state or other to prevent a human rights violation