Child Rights

Although India has a large number of laws to protect and promote the rights of children, children’s concerns are viewed primarily as a welfare issue rather a rights issue. By developing a legal rights-based approach for children, the Child Rights Initiative (CRI) combats the violation of children’s rights and increases their access to the legal system.

What HRLN Does

CRI’s major activity is filing Public Interest Cases in the Supreme Court of India and various High Courts on issues affecting children. CRI provides pro-bono legal services to children in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection in the Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees all over the country. CRI represents children who are victims of sexual abuse or bonded labour during trial proceedings in trial courts, and assists the prosecution in the trial.

CRI also provides training to the police, labour departments, civil society organizations, judiciary and government officials on various legislations and policies made for children. It has been instrumental in providing assistance in the formulation of new laws, rules and policies for children. It also conducts fact-findings, campaigns, publishes books and posters, organizes consultations, meetings and Judicial Colloquiums for increasing awareness about child rights among duty-bearers and right-holders.

CRI is part of the special taskforce for the rescue and rehabilitation of child labourers and responds to crisis situations through raid and rescue operations. It has set up a Crisis Intervention Center in the northwest and central districts of Delhi, which is also now being replicated in other states. It also monitors the implementation of various schemes and policies related to children. CRI functions in close collaboration with other grassroots organizations in the country.

Main Concerns

·      Child labour
·      Child trafficking.
·      Right to education
·      Child health and nutrition
·      Child marriages
·      Juvenile justice
·      Child sexual abuse
·      Torture and abuse of children


HRLN Impact

HRLN has been working towards rehabilitating children in conflict with the law and ensuring they don’t get stuck in the criminal justice system. The Supreme Court in our PIL on juvenile justice (Sampurna Behura Vs Union of India), ordered all the states and Union Territories in violation of complying with the JJ act provisions to do with the following:

·      Complete training of the Special Juvenile Police Units by the District Legal Aid Services Authority
·      Set up Juvenile Justice Boards in every district
·      Reduce pendency by ensuring that the Board sits daily with active participation of social workers
·      Create a module to train Legal Aid Lawyers and ensure their adequate presence in each district
·      Encourage the implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme
·      Set up the Commission for Protection of Child Rights in Every state
CRI has also filed a PIL in the Odisha High Court (pending final hearing), to require the state to create a Compulsory Marriage Registration Act to combat child marriage, and ensure that the Mandatory provisions and rules of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act be strictly followed.

CRI has been successful in obtaining interim compensation in several cases for victims under POCSO in Manipur, Kerala and a few other states. It has represented refugee children who have come in the JJ System and obtained for them refugee status. In a few districts, HRLN-empanelled lawyers work with the DLSA to represent children in conflict with law and conduct trials in their cases.
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