Millennium Post

Commissions for protection of child rights can't become means to obtain power: SC

New Delhi: Terming as "so sad" the fight between National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and West Bengal State CPCR over jurisdiction, the Supreme Court Monday said these forums cannot become means of obtaining "trappings of power" like official cars or bungalows.

The apex court said these commissions must function only for the protection and betterment of children who have "no voice", and in a "spirit of cooperation" as they are in the "nature of siblings".

"These commissions cannot become sources of power, self-aggrandisement or means of obtaining the trappings of power like official cars, bungalows etc," a bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said. "The people who are appointed to such commissions must in a true sense be friends of the children, willing to spend their time and energy to help children rather than pushing their own personal or political interest," the bench said in its 40-page judgement.

The top court delivered its verdict on an appeal filed by the NCPCR against a Calcutta High Court order staying its proceedings in a case related to alleged gross violation of rights of orphaned children in West Bengal. In the high court, the NCPCR and the state commission were at loggerheads over alleged trafficking of 17 children from a child care institution in Jalpaiguri district.

While the NCPCR blamed local administration for the thriving trafficking racket, the state government questioned its jurisdiction in the high court.

In its verdict, the top court said these commissions have been set up with a view to not only protect rights of children but also to suggest ways and means of enhancing the rights of children, ensuring that laws made for the protection of minors are effectively implemented. "We are dealing with children who cannot complain. The commissions are meant to protect children who have no voice. It is these commissions who have to give voice and feelings to the distress calls of children," the bench said.

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