A Manipur High Court division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice MV Muralidaran on Monday directed state Social Welfare Department deputy secretary Sonia Oinam to offer explanation in person before the court regarding Juvenile Justice Fund and a budget.
Oinam filed an affidavit on October 10, 2022 before the High Court, wherein she stated on oath that the state government had created the Juvenile Justice Fund and a budget of Rs 1,44,000 had been earmarked in the budget estimate for the financial year 2022-23 under Demand No 44.2235-02-106-34-00-50.
However, on perusal of the Demand No 44, document placed before the High Cout by A Romenkumar, amicus curiae, does not indicate any provision for the Juvenile Justice Fund.
Therefore, the court directed that the deputy secretary be present in person before the court on October 20, to offer further explanation, if required.
The Manipur High Court, on its own motion, took up the matter to implement the Juvenile Justice Act provision properly in the state.
While hearing the matter, the amicus curiae pointed out the 2018 Supreme Court judgment in the Sampurna Behura case, that the state of Manipur is statutorily bound to constitute a Juvenile Justice Fund, but even as on date, no steps have been taken.
Accordingly, the High Court on July 7 directed the state authorities to create the Juvenile Justice Fund as statutorily required and in due compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court in the Sampurna Behura case and also release the 10 per cent share of the maintenance Grant in Aid for the Child Welfare Committees for the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21.
The additional affidavit submitted from the department indicates that the arrears of the Maintenance Grant in Aid, being the 10 per cent share of the state government, has been released for the financial year 2019-20 in its entirety and for six months of the financial year 2020-21.
Meanwhile, the advocate general of Manipur sought time to ascertain the time that would be taken to release the balance arrears for the financial year 2020-21.