Chapter III – Child in need of Care and Protection
Section 29 – Child Welfare Committee
- The State Government may, by notification in Official Gazette, constitute for every district or group of districts, specified in the notification, one or more Child Welfare Committees for exercising the powers and discharge the duties conferred on such Committees in relation to child in need of care and protection under this Act.
- The Committee shall consist of a Chairperson and four other members as the State Government may think fit to appoint, of whom at least one shall be a woman and another, an expert on matters concerning children.
- The qualifications of the Chairperson and the members, and the tenure for which they may be appointed shall be such as may be prescribed.
- The appointment of any member of the Committee may be terminated, after holding inquiry, by the State Government, if-
- he has been found guilty of misuse of power vested under this Act;
- he has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and such conviction has not been reversed or he has not been granted full pardon in respect of such offence;
- he fails to attend the proceedings of the Committee for consecutive three months without any valid reason or he fails to attend less than three-fourth of the sittings in a year.
- The Committee shall function as a Bench of Magistrates and shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) on a Metropolitan Magistrate or, as the case may be, a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.
Section 30 – Procedure, etc., in relation to Committee
- The Committee shall meet at such times and shall observe such rules of procedure in regard to the transaction of business at its meetings, as may be prescribed.
- A child in need of care and protection may be produced before an individual member for being placed in safe custody or otherwise when the Committee is not in session.
- In the event of any difference of opinion among the members of the Committee at the time of any interim decision, the opinion of the majority shall prevail but where there is no such majority the opinion of the Chairperson shall prevail.
- Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1), the Committee may act, notwithstanding the absence of any member of the Committee, and no order made by the Committee shall be invalid by reason only of the absence of any member during any stage of the proceeding.
Section 31 – Powers of Committee
- The Committee shall have the final authority to dispose of cases for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of the children as well as to provide for their basic needs and protection of human right .
- Where a Committee has been constituted for any area, such Committee shall, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force but save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, have the power to deal exclusively with all proceedings under this Act relating to children in need of care and protection.
Section 32 – Production before Committee
- Any child in need of care and protection may be produced before the Committee by one of the following persons-
- any police officer or special juvenile police unit or a designated police officer;
- any public servant;
- childline, a registered voluntary organisation or by such other voluntary organisation or an agency as may be recognised by the State Government;
- any social worker or a public spirited citizen authorised by the State Government; or
- by the child himself.
- The State Government may make rules consistent with this Act to provide for the manner of making the report to the police and to the Committee and the manner of sending and entrusting the child to children’s home pending the inquiry.
Section 33 – Inquiry
- On receipt of a report under section 32, the Committee or any police officer or special juvenile police unit or the designated police officer shall hold an inquiry in the prescribed or agency as mentioned in sub-section (1) of section 32, may pass an order to send the child to the children’s home for speedy inquiry by a social worker or child welfare officer. manner and the Committee, on its own or on the report from any person
- The inquiry under this section shall be completed within four months of the receipt of the order or within such shorter period as may be fixed by the Committee;
Provided that the time for the submission of the inquiry report may be extended by such period as the Committee may, having regard to the circumstances and for the reasons recorded in writing, determine.
- After the completion of the inquiry if the Committee is of the opinion that the said child has no family or ostensible support, it may allow the child to remain in the children’s home or shelter home till suitable rehabilitation is found for him or till he attains the age of eighteen years.
Section 34 – Children’s homes
- The State Government may establish and maintain either by itself or in association with the voluntary organisations, children’s homes, in every district or group of districts, as the case may be, for the reception of child in ne d of care and protection during the pendency of any inquiry and subsequently for their care, treatment, education, training, development and rehabilitation.
- The State Government may, by rules made under this Act, provide for the management of children’s homes including the standards and the nature of services to be provided by them, and the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, the certification of a children’s home or recognition to a voluntary organisation may be granted or withdrawn.
Section 35 – Inspection
- The State Government may appoint inspection committees for the children’s homes (hereinafter referred to as the inspection committees) for the State, a district and city, as the case may be, for such period and for such purposes as ma be prescribed.
- The inspection committee of a State, district or of a city shall consist of such number of representatives from the State Government, local authority, Committee, voluntary organisations and such other medical experts and social workers as may be prescribed.
Section 36 – Social auditing
The Central Government or State Government may monitor and evaluate the functioning of the Children’s homes at such period and through such persons and institutions as may be specified by that Government.
Section 37 – Shelter homes
- The State Government may recognise, reputed and capable voluntary organisations and provide them assistance to set up and administer as many shelter homes for juveniles or children as may be required.
- The shelter homes referred in sub-section (1) shall function as drop-in-centres for the children in the need of urgent support who have been brought to such homes through such persons as are referred to in sub-section (1) of section 32.
- As far as possible, the shelter homes shall have such facilities as may be prescribed by the rules.
Section 38 – Transfer
- If during the inquiry it is found that the child hails from the place outside the jurisdiction of the Committee, the Committee shall order the transfer of the child to the competent child. authority having jurisdiction over the place of residence of the
- Such juvenile or the child shall be escorted by the staff of the home in which he is lodged originally.
- The State Government may make rules to provide for the travelling allowance to be paid to the child.
Section 39 – Restoration
- Restoration of and protection to a child shall be the prime objective of any children’s home or the shelter home.
- The children’s home or a shelter home, as the case may be, shall take such steps as are considered necessary for the restoration of and protection to a child deprived of his family environment temporarily or permanently where such child is under the area and protection of a children’s home or a shelter home, as the case may be.
- The Committee shall have the powers to restore any child in need of care and protection to his parent, guardian, fit person or fit institution, as the case may be, and give them suitable directions.
For the purposes of this section “restoration of child” means restoration to-
- adopted parents;
- foster parents.