7 March 2022 4:38 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has been informed that no complaint has been reported against any police officer in the city regarding a juvenile being treated as an adult during the period of July 1 to December 31, 2021. The development came after the Court had last month directed the Secretary of Delhi State Legal Services Authority ('DSLSA') to submit a report on implementation and compliance of the...
The Delhi High Court has been informed that no complaint has been reported against any police officer in the city regarding a juvenile being treated as an adult during the period of July 1 to December 31, 2021.
The development came after the Court had last month directed the Secretary of Delhi State Legal Services Authority ('DSLSA') to submit a report on implementation and compliance of the 2012 guidelines and directions regarding the juveniles and children in conflict with law who are lodged in adult jails.
A coordinate bench of the High Court in the case titled Court On Its Own Motion v. Dept. Of Women And Child vide order dated May 11, 2012 had issued a slew of directions to ensure that such juveniles are not remanded and kept in adult jails.
In paragraph 19 of the said judgment, the Court had directed the police authorities to submit a report to the Court in every six months regarding the implementation of the said directions with copies to be given to NCPCR and DSLSA.
Accordingly, the status report submitted by DSLSA dated March 3, 2022 reports a compliance of all the concerned stakeholders as per the guidelines.
The report states that regarding the compliance by Deputy Commissioners of Police and In-charge of Districts, it has been informed thus:
"It has been informed by ACP/Co-Ord. for Deputy Commissioner of Police, Headquarters-It Delhi that no complaint regarding a juvenile being treated as an adult has been reported during the period."
Regarding compliance by Officer In Charge of the Police Stations, it has been stated that all SHOs and Inspectors are being briefed regularly about new judgments of the Courts or JJBs by the DCPs during the meetings held at the District level and that all necessary steps are being taken to verify the age of accused persons whenever in doubt.
"lt has been informed by ACP/Co-Ord. for Deputy Commissioner of Police, Headquarters-II, Delhi that no such intimation by the JJBs about any lapse having been committed on age investigation has been received by District DCP's," the report adds.
Furthermore, on the compliance by Tihar and Rohini jails, the report states that the jail authority will take action on receiving suggestions or information, if any, from the Visitor's immediate follow up Board.
The report also states that the Medical examination test regarding age verification or juvenility does not get conducted by Jail Authorities on its own.
"If Jail Authorities observe that any prisoner seems to be a juvenile or the pnsoner himself claims that he is Juvenile at the time of commission of offence, then such cases are immediately brought into the notice of Jail visiting Advocate on the panel of DSLSA, to draft appropriate application for necessary action," the report states.
It adds "The newly admitted pnsoners are segregated and lodged in a separate ward. If the Jail Authorities are of the view that any person brought in the Jail is a probable Juvenile or the inmate brings it to notice of .Jail authority, then a letter is forwarded to the concemed come within 24 working hours through Jail Visiting advocate requesting for an age inquiry or any other appropriate direction."
It has further been stated that panel visitors of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) visit all the Jails in Delhi Prisons on monthly basis to scrutinize cases where inmate is or was below 18 years at the time of commission of offence and that Jail Authorities provide them the details of those inmates as well, identified as probable Juveniles.
The report also mentions that the Secretaries of all the 11 Districts have been conducting inspections of such Jails which house inmates aged between 18-21 years on regular basis in order to ensure that no juvenile or suspected juvenile is lodged in Jail on account of lack of information and assistance.
"Moreover, in every Prison Complex, an in-house Legal Services Clinic has been established, manned bv Jail Visiting Advocate and Para-legal Volunteers to move necessary legal applications, to file appeals and ensure that no juvenile is lodged in Jail in any circumstances. The Jail Visiting Advocates are duty bound to interact with inmates and provide free legal advice from 3 pm to 7 pm, on all working days through these clinics," the report states.
It adds "DSLSA trains and inducts PLVs from amongst ofjail inmates since they share a good rapport -vvith fellow inmates and are in a position to help them even at odd hours. At present 118 convicts have been trained to become such Para-legal Volunteers. DSLSA conducts an intensive three-day Refresher Training Programme for such inmates v.rho are inducted as PLVs inside the prison premises, to equip them with the practical knowledge of laws, including Juvenile Justice Act, 2015."
The Court has been dealing with a criminal reference concerning the implementation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.
During the earlier course of hearings, the Bench 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.
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