Union Minister of State for Law and Justice Prof S P Singh Baghel on Wednesday chaired a series of meetings with the members of the High Court of Meghalaya and Officers of Meghalaya State Legal Authority in Shillong.
During his two-day visit to the capital, the MoS reviewed the implementation of central schemes for the infrastructure of subordinate judiciary. The Minister took stock of the legal services in the state of Meghalaya and how the judiciary functions in the State. While interacting with the media persons after the meetings, he said that in comparison to a few other states of the country, the rate of crime in Meghalaya was low, however, he added that there had been cases related to Narcotics and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) in the State and ensuring that the offences are checked is the need of the hour.
The Minister intimated that early in the day he visited the Juvenile Centre, a Hospital and a Dispensary. He expressed his concern regarding juvenile cases – out of the 17 boys in the juvenile Centre, 15 were cases of POCSO. He said that juvenile delinquency is a grave concern and it has a deterrent effect on the social order in a country. The increasing rate of juvenile crime is setting a trend world over with more involvement of youth in violent crimes. It is a serious issue for the nation which is needed to be handled carefully, he added.
The MoS stressed on the role of the society, parents and their friends. Society’s participation in sensitizing matters of juvenile delinquency is important, he opined. “There are various factors such as social, financial, etc. that influence the child to commit offences. It is our duty to understand what circumstances lead the child to commit the crime,” he said while interacting with media persons.
Prof. Baghel viewed that religious leaders can play a dominant role in bringing the desired change in a disturbed child. “With proper guidance and support a child can be rehabilitated. Centres should incorporate more of sports activities, yoga, meditation and spiritual sessions for the Juveniles so that they can get out of the disturbed phase that they are subjected to by their erstwhile environment,” said the Minister. He highlighted that families should monitor the actions of their children in order to ensure that they do not fall into bad company. “State is also considered to be the guardian of the society and it is the duty to help a child to come out of a difficult situation,” he held.
He expressed satisfaction over the quality of work done in Meghalaya and percentage of utilization of the funds. In response to the demand for more funds for the development of infrastructure by the State, the Minister said that his department has allocated an amount of Rs 16 crore recently and that he will consider, after going through the utilization status, regarding granting more funds for the state. He further said, “I am happy that Centre has allocated more than Rs 700 crore for the development of the Infrastructure, especially for the work of five POCSO Courts.
The Union Minister intimated that it is as per the direction of the Prime Minister of India that he is on a visit to Meghalaya and Assam. The purpose of his visit is to take account of the proper implementation of centrally sponsored schemes in the said States, to visit sites and monitor actual implementation of the schemes and to review the activities of the department, which relates to his Ministry as well as other departments.