Violation of Juvenile Justice Act

The Act needs to be implemented in letter and spirit in J&K

Dr. Rabia Noor
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 6 2018 11:06PM | Updated Date: Dec 6 2018 11:06PM
Violation of Juvenile Justice ActRepresentational Image

Sudden shrieks from a nearby place led this juvenile to rush to the spot. Before he could realise that it was a stone-pelting incident, he was dragged by his collar by local police. Despite pleading before them that he was a minor and innocent, he was thrashed by the officials before arresting him, and booking him under Public Safety Act.  

Analysis of this incident clearly shows on how many stages Juvenile Justice Act, 2013, is being violated in Jammu and Kashmir in each case. In case of Musaib (name changed), 15, from the down-town area of Srinagar city, several violations of the Juvenile Justice Act can be pointed out. To name a few, detaining a juvenile in police custody is one violation of the Act, while slapping PSA against a minor and thrashing him are among other violations. 

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013, which is a legislative framework meant for safeguarding the rights of children in conflict with law as well as children in need of care and protection, is being grossly violated in the state of J&K. The 2013 Act came in existence after amendments were made in the Juvenile Justice Act, 1997. 

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passed the Juvenile Justice Act in 1997, however, the rules to enforce it were laid down only a decade later. In 2013, the legislature cleared the updated Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, approving its rules the following year. 

The year 2018 saw many developments in juvenile justice system in the state, including implementation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme, creation of Child Welfare Committees, functioning of Juvenile Justice Boards as well as introduction of Juvenile Justice Act. However, despite the law in place, juveniles in the state are denied protection they deserve. 

J&K lags far behind the other states of India in terms of implementation of the Act and its provisions. In fact, the Act is still in the infancy stage in the state, therefore, J&K has many lessons to learn from the other states that have implemented and practice this Act in letter and spirit. The issue is graver in Kashmir region, where juveniles in conflict with law usually end up being locked up in police stations along with adult suspects. 

As per the Juvenile Justice Act, foremost, it has to be presumed that a juvenile is immature and is unaware of the gravity of his actions, hence needs to be dealt with care and flexibility. The Act also demands a delinquent to be placed in juvenile observation home rather than in police custody. Besides, the Act says if a person merely appears to be a juvenile, he should not be arrested, leave alone producing the age proof. 

However, the principles of the Act have often been found to be violated in Kashmir. The police officials usually ignore and deny the claim made by the suspect about being minor at the time of arrests. They do not even ask for the age proof. Many a time, even after high school certificates are produced as evidence, the juveniles are denied protection under the Act and are illegally detained in police stations along with adult offenders. In un-segregated detention, there is a risk of juveniles being influenced by adults and thereby picking up crime, thus is a matter of huge concern. 

Keeping these things in view, it is high time to address the shortcomings in the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act in the state so as to address the vulnerabilities of the juveniles. The approach of the executive, legislative and the judicial system ought to be made child-friendly. The police especially should practice the Act in its original without procedural lacunae. It is their responsibility to ensure protection to juveniles, who are in conflict with law, particularly at the time of arrests. The juveniles should be taken to Juvenile Justice Boards immediately so as to save them from illegal detentions. 

The Juvenile Justice Act has been drafted with an aim to adopt a reformative approach in dealing with delinquent juveniles. The juveniles, who are in conflict with the law, need to be properly counselled and rehabilitated in the society. The idea behind rehabilitation is that delinquents are not born criminals, thus should be provided a chance of reformation. The Act also aims to uphold various United Nations conventions on juvenile justice as well as basic human rights. Let the Act be implemented in letter and spirit, so that children do not suffer anymore. 

 

Illustration juvenile justice 

 

ANALYSIS 

 

Dr. Rabia Noor 

 

 

Violation of Juvenile Justice Act 

 

The Act needs to be implemented in letter and spirit in J&K 

 

 

Sudden shrieks from a nearby place led this juvenile to rush to the spot. Before he could realise that it was a stone-pelting incident, he was dragged by his collar by local police. Despite pleading before them that he was a minor and innocent, he was thrashed by the officials before arresting him, and booking him under Public Safety Act.  

Analysis of this incident clearly shows on how many stages Juvenile Justice Act, 2013, is being violated in Jammu and Kashmir in each case. In case of Musaib (name changed), 15, from the down-town area of Srinagar city, several violations of the Juvenile Justice Act can be pointed out. To name a few, detaining a juvenile in police custody is one violation of the Act, while slapping PSA against a minor and thrashing him are among other violations. 

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013, which is a legislative framework meant for safeguarding the rights of children in conflict with law as well as children in need of care and protection, is being grossly violated in the state of J&K. The 2013 Act came in existence after amendments were made in the Juvenile Justice Act, 1997. 

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passed the Juvenile Justice Act in 1997, however, the rules to enforce it were laid down only a decade later. In 2013, the legislature cleared the updated Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, approving its rules the following year. 

The year 2018 saw many developments in juvenile justice system in the state, including implementation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme, creation of Child Welfare Committees, functioning of Juvenile Justice Boards as well as introduction of Juvenile Justice Act. However, despite the law in place, juveniles in the state are denied protection they deserve. 

J&K lags far behind the other states of India in terms of implementation of the Act and its provisions. In fact, the Act is still in the infancy stage in the state, therefore, J&K has many lessons to learn from the other states that have implemented and practice this Act in letter and spirit. The issue is graver in Kashmir region, where juveniles in conflict with law usually end up being locked up in police stations along with adult suspects. 

As per the Juvenile Justice Act, foremost, it has to be presumed that a juvenile is immature and is unaware of the gravity of his actions, hence needs to be dealt with care and flexibility. The Act also demands a delinquent to be placed in juvenile observation home rather than in police custody. Besides, the Act says if a person merely appears to be a juvenile, he should not be arrested, leave alone producing the age proof. 

However, the principles of the Act have often been found to be violated in Kashmir. The police officials usually ignore and deny the claim made by the suspect about being minor at the time of arrests. They do not even ask for the age proof. Many a time, even after high school certificates are produced as evidence, the juveniles are denied protection under the Act and are illegally detained in police stations along with adult offenders. In un-segregated detention, there is a risk of juveniles being influenced by adults and thereby picking up crime, thus is a matter of huge concern. 

Keeping these things in view, it is high time to address the shortcomings in the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act in the state so as to address the vulnerabilities of the juveniles. The approach of the executive, legislative and the judicial system ought to be made child-friendly. The police especially should practice the Act in its original without procedural lacunae. It is their responsibility to ensure protection to juveniles, who are in conflict with law, particularly at the time of arrests. The juveniles should be taken to Juvenile Justice Boards immediately so as to save them from illegal detentions. 

The Juvenile Justice Act has been drafted with an aim to adopt a reformative approach in dealing with delinquent juveniles. The juveniles, who are in conflict with the law, need to be properly counselled and rehabilitated in the society. The idea behind rehabilitation is that delinquents are not born criminals, thus should be provided a chance of reformation. The Act also aims to uphold various United Nations conventions on juvenile justice as well as basic human rights. Let the Act be implemented in letter and spirit, so that children do not suffer anymore. 

 

 

The author is a media fellow with National Foundation for India (NFI)

mrabianoor@yahoo.co.in  

 

 

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