PESHAWAR: The Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC), Mr. Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan virtually inaugurated Friday, Child Protection Courts in divisional headquarters Kohat, Swat, Bannu & D.I. Khan in pursuance to the vision for providing justice to children in a friendly and secure environment.
With the inauguration of these Child Courts the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has now eight Child Courts, the highest in the Country.
The ceremony was held simultaneously in Peshawar High Court and the said sub divisional headquarters.
All the Child Courts established in the province are now equipped with all the digital paraphernalia. Separate rooms for children in contact with law and in conflict with law are provided where all the basic facilities are ensured.
Child Protection courts have been established in the province not only to ensure protection of children from maltreatment, violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect but also to provide speedy, effective and inexpensive justice to the children according to the mandate set by the UNCRC (United Nation Convention on Rights of Children).
The Chief Justice while highlighting the need and importance of exclusive Child Courts in the justice system remarked, “Let me remind you that children under 14 years of age constitute almost 33% of our population. It would, therefore, be unjust and unfortunate to blink the welfare of such a large chunk of the populace.”
He further added that cognizant of its responsibility, the Peshawar High Court embarked upon a plan in 2019 to establish a chain of Child Courts throughout the province, beginning with Peshawar, extending next, to the divisional headquarters and finally to each district of the province.
This, he affirmed, was a big stride forward in juvenile justice system unmatched by any other province.
Referring to the remarkable performance of the existing Child Courts, the CJ stated these have disposed of the cases of children expeditiously and the average active time of case of a juvenile is 123 days as per the independent evaluation.
The juvenile justice committees are functional and the new concept of diversion introduced in JJSA 2018 has been availed by 56 children 98% of whom are male while 2% are female. Adopting the procedure of diversion not only saved the children from the rigors of trial but also help in reformation and rehabilitation of children without involvement of any risk.
Soon with the assistance of the provincial Government such like courts will be established in all the districts to ensure child justice at all levels.
The environment in the Child Court will provide an opportunity to the Children to record their version / evidence before the Court without any eye contact with the accused or even remotely to video link, the facility of video link is provided in all the Child Courts.