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"JJBs To Review Progress Of Child In Conflict With Law, Ensure Post Release Plans": Delhi High Court Issues Slew Of Directions

Nupur Thapliyal
21 Dec 2021 7:35 AM GMT
JJBs To Review Progress Of Child In Conflict With Law, Ensure Post Release Plans: Delhi High Court Issues Slew Of Directions
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Keeping in view the importance of reformation, rehabilitation and social integration of a delinquent child within the scheme of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, the Delhi High Court last week 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...

Keeping in view the importance of reformation, rehabilitation and social integration of a delinquent child within the scheme of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, the Delhi High Court last week 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.

A bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani issued the following directions:

- JJ Act contemplates that the final dispositional order in respect of a child found to have been in conflict with law, must contain an Individual Care Plan (ICP) drawn-up in Form-7 by the Probation Officer/Child Welfare Officer for a child's rehabilitation. Furthermore, where, upon conclusion of enquiry proceedings, a child is remanded to an observation home/special home/place of safety/fit facility, the rehabilitative process is required to be conducted within such place during the period of the child's stay. In this connection, the Rehabilitation-cum-Placement Officer is required to draw-up a Rehabilitation Card in Form-14 appended to JJ Rules 2016 and the JJB is to monitor the progress of the child based on the ICP and the Rehabilitation Card. To effectuate and streamline the foregoing statutory scheme, we hereby direct that pursuant to drawing-up an ICP and a Rehabilitation Card, every JJB seized of an enquiry shall call for the ICP and the Rehabilitation Card from the Superintendent of the concerned home and review the progress of the child as reflected in such card, on a quarterly basis i.e. once every 03 months; and issue necessary directions if it is found that the ICP as contained in the Rehabilitation Card is not being implemented effectively.

- In compliance of the JJ Rules, all JJBs must ensure that post-release plan, which is required to be drawn-up two months before a child is due to leave a child care institution, recommending the aftercare for such child5, is placed before the concerned JJB and the child is produced before it two months before release. At that stage, the JJB must vet the post-release plan and issue necessary directions for its modification, monitoring and implementation, as may be required in a given case in compliance of the requirements of the JJ Rules.

- To to immediately remedy the shortfall and to ensure compliance with the JJ Act and JJ Rules7, we direct the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to appoint 07 additional DCPOs for the remaining districts, within 06 (six) weeks from the date of release of this order.

- A compilation/directory be created by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi in co-operation with the DCPCR and the DSLSA, containing a list, complete with name, address and other particulars of all institutions/facilities offering informal education and vocational training, whether governmental or non-governmental, in Delhi; and such directory be provided to all JJBs, to facilitate the JJBs in issuing necessary directions to the most appropriate institution/facility to provide informal education and vocational training to delinquent children housed in child care institutions in Delhi.

The bench was dealing with a criminal reference concerning the implementation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. Certain questions of law were placed by a Principal Magistrate of a Juvenile Justice Board concerning the circumstances when a child in conflict with law also happens to be a child in need of care and protection.

Furthermore, in order to understand the systemic flaws that lead to delinquent children and juveniles ending-up in adult jails in a better way, the Court directed the Delhi Government to furnish the number of children or juveniles who were transferred from adult jails to juvenile justice homes or child care institutions in the last five years, along with the details of the numbers found in Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails respectively.

The Court added that the details must include the date on which such children or juveniles were admitted and the date on which they were transferred from adult jails to juvenile justice homes or child care institutions and the offences with which they were charged.

Detailed report of the hearing can be read here.

The matter will now be heard on January 21, 2022.

Earlier, the Court had 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

Click Here To Read Order 


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