28 Oct 2021 4:41 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the Delhi Government on the allocation of funds to the juvenile justice fund in the couple of years including the amount which has been disburded till now. A bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani also sought response on the time frame for setting up of juvenile justice boards in all 11 districts in the...
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the Delhi Government on the allocation of funds to the juvenile justice fund in the couple of years including the amount which has been disburded till now.
A bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani also sought response on the time frame for setting up of juvenile justice boards in all 11 districts in the city and the present stage of its establishment.
The Court was dealing with a criminal reference wherein 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 for care and protection.
"Any society has to be judged on how it takes care of its children. If we are unable to take care of our children, then God help us. CCTVs are helping. It's not only a deterrent but also works as an aid," the Court said at the outset.
During the course of hearing, the Court also deliberated on the issue of production of juveniles and expressed its concern over stay of such juveniles at observation homes.
While the Court made it clear that the juveniles have to be produced within the first 24 hours before the concerned juvenile justice board, the bench added:
"The question is you can't stage the hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. The Prince has to make his appearance. Once he is there, only then you can stage the hamlet. That is where it begins. You are saying that there is a problem with juvenile justice boards. What we have done so far is that there has to be appearance within 24 hours regardless of whether the juvenile is in safe custody of the board or guardian or kept in an observation home temporarily. Then within 2 weeks the age related documents have to be obtained and furnished to the JJB. Then the board will make a call within two weeks apart from cases where ossification test is required which again has to be done within 2 weeks."
Nandita Rao appearing for the Delhi Government took the Court through the number of institutions available for children. She submitted that there are three types of homes under the Juvenile Justice Act.
First, the Observation homes where the child in conflict with law are given temporary care during the pending of their cases. In such homes, the stay does not exceed four months. Second, special stays which are ordered under the Act where the stay cannot exceed beyond three years; and Third, place of safety where child in conflict with law above the age of 18 or children between 16 to 18 years are kept who are accused or convicted of heinous offences.
The Court granted four weeks time to the Delhi Government to respond the the above mentioned aspects and listed the matter for further hearing on December 14.
Last month, the Court had directed that all cases alleging petty offences against children or juveniles, 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.7
Case Title: COURT ON ITS OWN MOTION v. STATE
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