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"Constitute High Level Committee For Preventive Measures To Ensure Juveniles Are Not Lodged In Adult Jails": DCPCR To Delhi High Court

Nupur Thapliyal
5 Feb 2022 5:51 AM GMT
Constitute High Level Committee For Preventive Measures To Ensure Juveniles Are Not Lodged In Adult Jails: DCPCR To Delhi High Court
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The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has prayed from the Delhi High Court to constitute a High Level Committee for outlining preventive measures to ensure that juveniles are not lodged in adult jails. In the written submissions filed before a bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani, DCPCR has stated that it believes that a serious inquiry into...

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has prayed from the Delhi High Court to constitute a High Level Committee for outlining preventive measures to ensure that juveniles are not lodged in adult jails.

In the written submissions filed before a bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani, DCPCR has stated that it believes that a serious inquiry into "every lapse made in age investigation of juveniles" is the strongest deterrent for the erring police officials to be conscious of the aspect of age of juveniles.

The DCPCR has therefore prayed that the High Level Committee be comprised of Principal Secretary (Home) Delhi Government, Secretary Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) Delhi Government, Chairperson of DCPCR, Director General of Prisons Delhi, Member-Secretary Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA), Special Commissioner Special Police Unit for Women and Children (SPUWAC) Delhi Police, Principal Magistrate of a Juvenile Justice Board, an eminent child rights expert and a legal expert.

The written submissions have been filed through DCPCR's standing counsel R.H.A. Sikander in a criminal reference concerning the implementation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Recently, the Court had noted that there was an alarming number of about 800 juveniles or children in conflict with law who were detained in adult jails in Tihar in the past five years.

Juveniles Detained In Adult Jails: Delhi High Court To Consider Streamlining Process Of Assessing Age Of Arrestee When Brought To Police Station

In this backdrop, the DCPCR has prayed that the Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) may be requested to place on record whether the inquiries into the cases of 844 juveniles who were lodged in adult jails were conducted and also details of such intimations made by the JJBs to the DCPs in the last 5 years.

"That another strong layer of protection for juveniles from being lodged in the adult jails is the production of young alleged offenders of 18 to 21 years of age before the concerned District Legal Services Authority (DLSA). The fact that the official of the DLSA would examine the age memo of a young alleged offender and interact with him/her is a strong deterrent for the erring police officials to display seriousness into these matters," the submissions read further.

A direction has also been sought that DCPCR is directed to constitute a panel of persons to make visits to various city jails in order to find out if there are any persons lodged in such jails who should have been the beneficiaries of the JJ Act, 2015.

The Court had earlier issued slew of directions to the Juvenile Justice Boards as well as the Delhi Government for streamlining the functioning of the juvenile justice delivery system under the Act and Juvenile Justice Rules, 2016.

The Court had also issued directions for streamlining the process of inquiries relating to juveniles in conflict with law and scrupulous compliance by all authorities.

It had directed that all cases alleging petty offences against children or juveniles in conflict with law, where the inquiry has been pending and remains inconclusive for a period longer than one year, regardless of whether such child or juvenile has been produced before the Juvenile Justice Boards in Delhi, shall stand terminated with immediate effect.

The Court noted that the long pendency of cases was due to pandemic, where children were not produced before the JJ Boards. It was understood by the stakeholders that the time of 04 months stipulated in section 14 would begin to run only after the date of first production of the child before the JJB, hundreds of matters relating even to petty offences have been languishing at various stages for much longer than 04 months.

Case Title: COURT ON ITS OWN MOTION v. STATE

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