KARACHI: A judicial magistrate on Tuesday directed the investigating officer to produce teenage Dua Zehra in court on Wednesday (today) amid full security.

Judicial Magistrate (East) Aftab Ahmed Bughio passed this order on an application filed by her purported husband, Zaheer Ahmed, under Section 17(2) of the Sindh Child Protection Authority (Amendment) Act, 2021 read with Section 3 of the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.

His counsel Amir Riyaz argued that it was a legal requirement that whenever the custody of any child was received by the child protection officer it was incumbent upon the officer to produce the child before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours.

He added that the purpose of production within 24 hours was to safeguard the rights of the minor/child.

Order was passed on her purported husband Zaheer’s plea

A judicial magistrate in Lahore, while permitting the custody of the minor, had also passed the same order for her production before the Karachi’s trial court under safe custody, he added.

Complainant’s counsel Zaheer Hussain opposed the application.

The judge observed there was a legal question whether Dua — who has been shifted from Darul Aman, Lahore to the Child Protection Authority in compliance with the orders of the courts of competent jurisdiction — was to be produced before the trial court within the specified period or might be produced when the matter was already fixed for hearing.

He recalled that the incumbent court through its order dated July 22 on an application filed by the mother of Dua under Rules 9 and 10 of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Rules, 2016 had passed an order for production of the minor on the date already fixed for the submission of the investigation report.

However, he added, that the minor admittedly is shifted from Darul Aman in Lahore to the Child Protection Authority in Karachi on July 24.

The magistrate opined that immediate production of the minor was necessary as provided under Section 17(2) (Amendment) to Child Protection Act, 2021 and Rule 10 of the Child Marriage Restraint Rules, 2016.

Allowing the application, the magistrate directed the IO to produce the custody of Dua Zehra on July 27 at 09:30am.

He further ordered that the IO shall produce the minor through a Child Protection Officer and no person from either side should get a chance to meet with her.

The court also ordered that no other person, except the advocates of the case, would be present in the courtroom at the time of production of the minor.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2022

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