Media ignores India`s Juvenile Justice Act 2006 in sensationalizing Gurgaon School Shooting
Released on: December 14, 2007, 5:25 am
Press Release Author: Arjun Natarajan
Press Release Summary: Can media take law of the land for granted in newsmaking?
Press Release Body: The news about Gurgaon Euro International School shooting has been splashed by media all over. However, while reporting this good number of reputed media including some of the very famous Indian ones has grossly disregarded Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2006 enacted by the Government of India which prohibits publication of the name, address or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the juvenile(s) involved in the incident.
In India, this is not the first time media has taken the law of the land for a ride in such instances.
On 18/06/2007, a news item appeared in the Mumbai Edition of the Times of India, titled "TEEN STRANGLES 9-YR-OLD FRIEND" mentioning the school in which the juvenile studied apart from many other personal details of the juvenile.
On 01/06/2007, in the New Delhi Edition of The Times of India, on 02/06/07, in the New Delhi Edition of The Hindustan Times, the magazine Week dated 17/06/2007, a particular news item about an "EIGHT-YEAR-OLD CHILD SERIAL KILLER" from Bihar had appeared giving name of the juvenile and other personal details about him.
The legal position in this context as follows: Section 21 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (56 of 2000) as amended by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006 (33 of 2006)., states that: "Prohibition of publication of name, etc., of juvenile or child in need of care and protection involved in any proceeding under the Act-(1) No report in any newspaper, magazine, news-sheet or visual media of any inquiry regarding a juvenile in conflict with law or a child in need of care and protection under this Act shall disclose the name, address or school or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the juvenile or child shall nor shall any picture of any such juvenile or child shall be published: Provided that for any reason to be recorded in writing, the authority holding the inquiry may permit such disclosure, if in its opinion such disclosure is in the interest of the juvenile or the child. (2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1), shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees".
The law on the subject is very clear. If the authority holding the inquiry has not permitted the disclosure, then penalty of twenty-five thousand rupees can be imposed on persons responsible for publishing such news. Arguendo, such disclosure was permitted, then the question is, whether in doing so, the inquiring authority opined that interest of the juvenile or child shall be served. The legislature does not intend to prevent the mere disclosure of the name, address or school of such a juvenile or child. The intention of the legislature is to prevent disclosure of any particulars calculated to lead to the identification of such a juvenile or child. The legislature specifically intends to prevent the publication of any picture of any such juvenile or child.
In India, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, as per section 13(1)(a) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 can examine the safeguards provided by or under the Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000 and also recommend measures for the effective implementation of the safeguards provided.
Further, as per section 13(1) (c) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 this Commission can inquire into violation of child rights and proceedings in such cases. In addition, as per section 13(1)(j) of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 this Commission can inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters relating to depravation and violation of child rights and non implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children.
About Arjun Natarajan the author: I am a proud student of V.M. Salgaocar College of Law which has been taking great strides in improving the quality of legal education and thus substantially enhancing the quality of law graduates who obtain a Law Degree from Goa University. The Education at my college is not limited to imparting of legal knowledge to the students on various legal subjects but includes a kind of legal training which could enable the students to develop the capacity for rational thinking, articulation, presentation of arguments and sensitivity to the social needs. I attach immense importance to the rule of law and the right to fair trial, with special emphasis as regards juveniles in conflict with law.
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Contact Details: Arjun Natarajan Student of V.M. Salgaocar College of Law Panaji, Pin 403 001 Goa India email@example.com