After several cases of extreme violence against children in the recent past, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) decided to set up separate benches at the district level to directly hear cases and representations on issues related to violation of child rights. It’s first special sitting programme launched on Friday in Madurai hoped to cover all the 115 ‘aspirational districts’ that the NITI Aayog named in the first phase before branching out to other districts, NCPCR Chairman Priyank Kanoongo has said, The Hindu reported.

PM Narendra Modi along with the Niti Aayog launched the ‘aspirational districts’ programme in January last year to impact the socio-economic factors in these select districts that were found ‘lacking’ on factors related to health, nutrition and education.

The way these special benches are formed, the general public will be able to present their cases directly to the bench comprising of representatives from the NCPCR. NCPCR has collaborated with the district administration in all the districts to promote the special bench initiative.

In the first phase of the initiative, Kanoongo inaugurated the special sitting of NCPCR bench and said the special sittings focus to take up matters of child rights violations and also to gather inputs from various stakeholders that would help in making recommendations to the concerned authorities.

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The bench would hold sittings in 50 select divisions in the first phase, containing at least one district from the select 115 aspirational districts, he said. The first sitting was held in the districts of Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Pudukottai, Sivaganga, Dindigul, Thoothukudi and Theni. Kanoongo distributed ₹9.84 lakh to orphaned children to meet their medical and educational expenses before starting up with the sitting. The bench was headed by Kanoongo and comprised Anand, Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson M. P. Nirmala, Collectors K Veera Raghava Rao (Ramanathapuram) and J. Jayakanthan (Sivaganga). It heard a total of 125 petitions.

“As reported by the NCPCR, it has registered 140 complaints against CCIs and shelter homes during the last three years,”

Apart from Tamil Nadu, NCPCR’s special sitting programme was also held in Arunachal Pradesh for the first time ever in Northeast. It was conducted in Namsai where the bench comprised of Yashwant Jain and Rozy Taba of NCPCR which was supported by a team of technical experts. Aggrieved parents, NGOs, officials and others related to violation of child rights under different categories, such as education, child labour, juvenile justice, and health presented their petitions to the bench. They heard a total of 98 cases including representations, suggestions and suo moto cases.

Meanwhile, the first session of parliament was also in operation in the Lok Sabha on Friday where Women And Child Development minister Smriti Irani told the house that a total of 140 complaints have been received against child care institutions and shelter homes in the last three years.

“As reported by the NCPCR, it has registered 140 complaints against CCIs and shelter homes during the last three years,” she said in a written response, ET reported.

Irani noted that 539 child care institutions (CCIs) have been closed since last year over non-compliance of provisions of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.

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