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 an issue of rights. By developing a legal rights-based approach for children, the Child Rights Initiative combats the violation of children’s rights and increases their ability access to the legal system.
What We Do?
CRI’s, major activity is to do Public Interest Cases in the Supreme Court of India and various High Courts on the 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 victim of sexual abuse or victim of bonded labour during the trail proceedings in trial courts, assisting the prosecution in the trial.
CRI is a premier agency in the country for providing trainings to police, labour department, civil society organizations, judiciary and government officials on various legislations and policies made for children.
CRI has been instrumental in providing assistance in formulation of new laws, rules and policies for children. CRI conducts fact-findings, campaigns, publishes books and poster, 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. We have set up a Crisis Intervention Center in the Northwest and Central Districts of Delhi, which is also now being replicated in other States. We also monitor the implementation of various schemes and policies related to children. CRI functions in close collaboration with other grassroots organizations in the country.
Issues Of Concern
- Child labour
- Child trafficking.
- Right to education
- Child health and nutrition
- Child marriages
- Juvenile Justice
- Child sexual abuse
- Torture and Abuse of Children
Public Interest Cases done by lawyers associated with CRI have brought relief to millions of children in this country. Bachpan Bachao Andolan versus UOI & Ors, though initially brought in Supreme Court for children working in circus industry is set to mark a tremendous impact on child rights in this country as Supreme Court has expanded the scope of this PIL to include each and every aspect of rights of children. In its latest order, Supreme Court has directed all the States to implement the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 and to constitute Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, and Special Juvenile Police Units in every district. Avinash Mehrotra vs Union of India and Ors was filed when CRI found a lot of children dying due to school building disasters and fire etc. Schools were directed to follow bare minimum safety standards in addition to complying with the National Building Code of India, 2005, with particular emphasis on the Code of Practice for fire safety in Educational Institutions, as enumerated in the Bureau of Indian Standards. In PUCL Vs. Union of India, Court directed State to ensure the right to food and adequate nutrition for children through the Integrated Child Development Programme (ICDS), which benefitted approximately 8,30,90,382 children of the country between 0 to six years of age. The Supreme Court also directed the State Governments /Union Territories to implement the Mid Day Meal Scheme, ensuring mid day meals to approximately 100 million children across the country. The mid-day meal has been shown to contribute significantly to the lowering of levels of malnutrition among children. Forum for Fact Finding and Documentation Vs. Union of India, directions were issued that each state in India notifies the rules for the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2006. Another Supreme Court case Sampurna Behura Vs. Union of India significantly changed the scenarios vis a vis implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, as a result of which Juvenile Justice Boards and child Welfare Committees have been constituted in each district of every state in India. CRI has done a number of public interest cases (See Reena Banerjee Vs. Govt. of Delhi) in several states for improving the way child care institutions are being run, significantly improving the quality of care to children in such institutions.
The CRI has saved hundreds of children by conducting rescue interventions in over 170 cases of children being exploited as domestic workers, stopping over 200 child marriages, and facilitating the arrest and prosecution of child traffickers. The CRI has set up a model for legal aid for Juveniles in Delhi, which is being replicated now all over the country gradually. CRI’s lawyers have consistently struggled to eliminate anti child practices from functioning of police by initiating legal action in a number of cases where children are illegal detained or tortured at police stations. On the other hand CRI’s trainings to police, members of juvenile justice boards, child welfare committees and government authorities have brought a sea-impact on the quality of service delivery to children.
Watch Ek Tha Bachpan