The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was established in March 2007 as a statutory body under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act of 2005. Its objective is to protect, defend, and promote child rights in India, including the rights adopted in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, 1989 (ratified by India in 1992). NCPCR falls under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
NCPCR’s mandate is to ensure all laws, programmes, policies, and administrative mechanisms in the country are in conformity with the child rights perspective as enshrined in the Indian Constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of Child. As defined by the commission, the Child is a person in the age group of 0 to 18 years.
The Commission does not grade rights according to importance, as it sees every right of the Child equally important. It also acknowledges the inviolability and universality of Child Rights.
Composition of NCPCR
NCPCR consists of a Chairperson and six members, out of which at least two are women. All the members, including the chairperson, are appointed by the Central Government for 3 years. The maximum age to serve in the commission is 60 years for members and 65 years for Chairperson.
The Chairperson appointed should be a person of eminence who has done outstanding work promoting children’s welfare. The Central Government appoints the members of NCPCR amongst persons of eminence, integrity, ability, and who has experience in the following fields:
- Child health, care, welfare, or child development.
- Juvenile justice or care of neglected/marginalized children or children with disabilities.
- Elimination of Child labour, children in distress.
- Child psychology or sociology.
- Laws related to children.
Functions of NCPCR
NCPCR perform all or any of the following functions, namely:
Functions under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005:
- The Commission examines and reviews the safeguards provided to protect child rights under existing laws and recommends measures for their effective implementation.
- Present reports to the Central Government upon working of those safeguards, annually or at such other intervals as the commission may deem fit.
- It inquires about the cases of child rights violations and recommends for initiation of proceedings.
- It enquires into matters related to children in need of special care and protection, including marginalized & disadvantaged children, children in distress, juveniles, children in conflict with the law, children without family, and children of prisoners. It also suggests remedial measures for them.
- The Commission conducts and promotes research in the field of child rights.
- It studies the factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children impacted by terrorism, riots, communal violence, domestic violence, natural disaster, HIV/AIDS, maltreatment, trafficking, torture & exploitation, pornography, and prostitution. It also recommends appropriate remedial measures thereof.
- It undertakes periodic reviews of existing policies, programmes, and other activities on child rights. The commission also studies treaties & other international instruments on child rights and makes recommendations for their effective implementation in the best of children’s interest.
- The Commission inquire into the complaints and take Suo moto’s notice in matters relating to deprivation & violation of child rights and non-implementation of laws provided for the protection of children.
- It spreads child rights literacy among various sections of society. It promotes awareness of safeguards provided for the protection of child rights through publications, seminars, and other available means.
- It inspects any juvenile custodial home, any other institution or place of residence meant for children, under the control of Central or any State government or any authority, including any institution run by social organization, where children are detained for treatment, reformation, or protection. The Commission takes up with these authorities for remedial actions if found necessary.
Functions under Rule 17 of the NCPCR Rules, 2006
- The Commission analyzes the existing laws and policies to assess compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Child. It inquires and produces reports on any aspect of the policy affecting the children and comments on the proposed new legislation from a child rights perspective.
- It undertakes the formal investigation into specific complaints where concern has been expressed either by children themselves or by any concerned person on their behalf.
- The Commission produces and disseminates information about the rights of children. It compiles and analyzes the data on children.
- It encourages the incorporation of child rights into the school curriculum and the training of teachers or personnel dealing with children.
NCPCR is also mandated with responsibilities under the following Acts:
- Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
- Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Functions assigned under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act of 2009
- The Commission examines and reviews the safeguards provided by the Right to Education Act 2005 and suggests measures for effectively implementing them.
- It inquires into the complaints related to the child’s rights to free and compulsory education. It takes necessary steps after the completion of an inquiry.
Functions assigned under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012
- The Commission monitors the implementation of the POSCO Act 2012.
- It monitors the designation of Special Courts by State Governments.
- It monitors the appointment of Public Prosecutors by State Governments.
- It monitors the formulation of the guidelines described in the Act by the State Governments.
- The Commission calls for a report for any specific case of child sexual abuse, which falls within the jurisdiction of a Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
- It collects information and data on its own or from the relevant agencies regarding reported cases of sexual abuse.
- It monitors the designing and implementation of modules for training police personal & other concerned persons for the effective discharge of their functions under the Act.