The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was established under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, in March 2007 as a statutory body. It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt of India.
The NCPCR emphasises the principle of inviolability and universality of child rights and acknowledges the importance of all the policies pertaining to the child in India. Therefore, policies provide for adequate actions which are necessary for the most endangered children.
NCPCR envisages that only the creation of an atmosphere conducive for safeguarding the rights of a child will make the most vulnerable of the children discernable and thereby foster them to access their entitlements. Hence, the Commission recognizes that every right enjoyed by a child is interdependent and mutually- enforceable.
The commission is further responsible to ensure that the laws, programmes, administrative mechanisms, policies are compliant to the provisions of the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A child is defined as a person between the ages of zero to eighteen years of age.
Constitution of Commission
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights comprises of the following members:
- A chairperson who is an eminent personality and who has dedicated their life for child welfare and worked extensively for the same cause
- Six members including two women and all of them must be persons of eminence, standing, integrity, experience and ability. All these must are appointed by the Central Govt and shall possess experience from fields mentioned hereunder:
- Laws pertinent to children
- Child health, welfare, development and care
- Child psychology or sociology
- Juvenile justice
- Extermination of child labour or redressal for children in distress
Functions and Powers
- Analyse and review the protections rendered by law in force for the time being to safeguard rights of the children and thereby present recommendations for their efficacious implementation. The commission is also supposed to prepare a report describing the execution of the safeguards and submit it annually or in timely intervals to the Central Govt.
- Make inquiries regarding infringement of rights of children and propose the holding of proceedings.
- Examine the factors hindering the exercise of entitlements and rights of the children affected by communal violence, natural disaster, terrorism, riots, trafficking, torture and exploitation, domestic violence, pornography, HIV/AIDS and prostitution and propose necessary remedial measures. Further, inspect the matters pertinent to children in requirement of safeguard and special care including children in the conflict of law, children in distress, juveniles children without family and marginalised and children in disadvantaged and provide recommendations to redress their problems.
- Conduct the review of existing laws, programmes, policies and other activities related to child rights and study international instruments and treaties in order to recommend for the efficacious discharge of laws. Furthermore, with the motive to work in the best interest of children, promote and undertake research in the field of rights of children.
- It is the responsibility of the commission to intersperse child rights literacy among different rungs of the society and thereby espouse awareness of the protection present for safeguarding the rights by the medium of the seminar, publications, media and other means.
- Conduct inspections or cause to undertake inspections in any juvenile custodial home, or any other place institution or residence meant for children, under the authority of Union Govt or State Govt or any other authority, inclusive of institutions run by social organisation where children are admitted or detained for the with an aim for reformation, protection or treatment and align with these authorities to effect remedial measures if required.
- Make inquiries into the complaints received and take suo moto notice of any matter pertinent to:
- Non-implementation of laws providing for safeguards to children and ensuring their development
- Bereaving and infringing a child’s rights
- Non-compliance of guidelines or directions aimed at ameliorating difficulties or policies which are meant for securing the welfare of children and ensuring them relief
- Approach the appropriate authorities
- Intervention by the commission into a matter pending before the state commission or any other entity set up duly by law in force for the time being should be avoided
- Comment on any new legislation related to child rights and if necessary make recommendations for amendment
- Conduct formal investigation into complaints or concerns explicitly stated by a child or a person in his/her behalf
- Produce and spread information about the rights of children
- Create a compilation of data on children after proper analysis
- Promotion of the concept of incorporation of rights of children in the curriculums of school, training provided to teachers or personnel dealing with children.
Responsibilities Under Other Legislations
POCSO ACT, 2012
- The commission is responsible to look after the proper implementation of POCSO Act, 2012
- To examine and look after the allotment of special courts by the state govt
- To examine and look after the allotment of public prosecutors by the state govt
- To supervise the creation of guidelines provided in Section 39 of POCSO Act by the state govt, for the application of NGOs, experts, professionals or persons possessing expertise on mental health, physical health, psychology, child development and social work to be associated to help a child during the pre-trial and trial stage and look after the implementation of these guidelines
- To supervise and assist the union govt and the state govt in spreading information pertinent to the provisions of the Act by means of print media, television and radio in timely intervals, in order to make the general public, children and their parents or guardians known about the provisions of the Act
- To instruct any report to be presented before it regarding any case related to child sexual abuse which is in the jurisdictional ambits of CWC
- To monitor the discharge of the provisions of the Act and to provide a report in a separate chapter in its Annual report to be presented before the Parliament.
- To call for information and data its own or from various relevant agencies related to alleged sexual harassment cases and their disposal under the procedure provided under the POCSO Act, which would also include information regarding:
- Number and offences reported under the Act
- Compliance of procedure established under the Act
- Details about arrangements for protection and care of victims including medical care and examination
- Details about monitoring of the requirement of the protection and care of the child by the concerned CWC in any particular case
Right to Education Act, 2009
- To monitor and review the protections provided by the Act and propose for required measure for proper implementation
- Make inquiries into the complaints pertaining to the right of a child for free and mandatory education
Contribution of NCPCR in 2018-2019 AND Current Initiatives
Section 12 (1) (c) of the CPCR Act, requires an inquiry into the complaints related to violation of rights of children and thereby provide recommendations to initiate proceedings. However, the impact on the mental health leading to mental disorder poses a big challenge to reporting of child abuse cases. Nevertheless, the Child Psychology and Sociology department of the NCPCR had received up to 25 cases as on Aug 2018.
A strong network of mental health care workers is required in India to attenuate the deplorable situation and do away with the under-reporting statistics in case of child rights violations.
A total of 17 inspections were undertaken by Dr R. G. Anand, the chairperson of NCPCR across 8 states leading to speedy and appropriate actions being taken against the perpetrator’s child rights violators. Suo moto cognisance was taken in a case in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh wherein sexual exploitation of girls was alleged to have taken place in children home. Furthermore, 3 shelter homes were inspected by a team comprising of experts to monitor the quality of care provided to the children and also rehabilitate the victims who were exploited.
The experts also reported various irregularities and absence proper rehabilitative mechanism necessary as mandated by the Juveniles Justice Act, 2015 and Juvenile Justice Rules, 2016. A proposal was laid down in order, to begin with, the rehabilitation of the victims.
In children home for boys it was found of that the children were not provided with proper sanitation and hygienic drinking water, overpopulation of children yet only one teacher appointed, etc were some issues addressed by the commission with immediate action.
A list of recommendations has been provided by NCPCR to improve the facilities like medical centres and emergency rescue wards in Sabrimala for the safety and security of the children.
The commission is developing a psycho-educative workshop toolkit to educate children to prevent sexual abuse and in particular the unaware children who are the easiest prays. This is being done in compliance to Article 34 of the United Nations Child Rights Convention which says, “A child has the right to be free from sexual abuse.” For making the toolkit a success and reach as many children as possible the child psychology and sociology department is looking for prospective organisations to collaborate.
The commission is also fostering research in collaboration with AIIMS, New Delhi to assess detailed reports on:
- Child abuse among children and adolescent in CCIs
- To conduct a research study on, “Psychological Profiling of the Mind of Incarcerated Child Sexual Offenders in India: Implications for Development of Treatment Intervention”
Another current initiative was a major national conference on the topic, “Beyond Medical Diagnosis: Integration of Psychosocial Perspectives on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Child Sexual Abuse Victims” to espouse the provisions embodied in UNCRC Article 19 which says,
“States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”
The objectives of the conference were:
- Analyse the normalisation of sexual violence inflicted upon children in India
- The paradigm shift in the process of rehabilitation of CSA victims
- To discuss the best approaches to rehabilitate a disabled child who has been a victim of sexual violence
- Creation of a handbook encapsulating all the best practices for rehabilitation and reintegration of child sexual assault victims for both institutionalised and non-institutionalised care
In an attempt to create a strong and accessible counselling mechanism the commission has proposed to set up “You are not alone (YANA)” centre to provide:
- Face-to-face counselling
- Web-based support and guidance
- Telephonic counselling