BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in its latest report, “Madhya Pradesh: Snail Speed on Implementation of Juvenile Justice” (http://achrweb.org/reports/
“The sitting of two days in a week by the JJBs despite 14,000 pending cases indicates the lack of seriousness of the State Government of Madhya Pradesh to implement theunder the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The failure of the State government to pay Rs 500/- per sitting and travel allowances as per the Madhya Pradesh Juvenile Justice Rules, 2003 (amended in 2008) acts as disincentive leading to absence of the JJB members and huge pendency of cases. Shamefully, the JJB members are paid only Rs 120 per sitting.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
“The conditions of the institutions providing institutional care under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 are deplorable. Further, 32 out of 50 districts of Madhya Pradesh have no Observation Home while 15 out of 18 existing Observation Homes are underutilized. There are only three Special Homes in the State, which are woefully insufficient for hundreds of juveniles and the State Government has not built any new Special Home since 1988. There are instances of children not found guilty by the JJBs beeing sent Special Homes where juveniles found guilty by the JJBs are supposed to be housed.” – stated Asian Centre for Human Rights.
The Madhya Pradesh Police remain unaware of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and continue to violate the rights of the juveniles. There are a number of cases of juveniles being detained in police lock ups and prisons in clear violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. During field visits by Asian Centre for Human Rights to the Observation Homes in Bhopal on 6-7 March 2012 and Indore on 16-17 April 2012, many juveniles stated that while they were treated well once produced before the JJBs, many of them were subjected to torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment while in police custody.
On 2 February 2012, 15-year-old tribal boy Haridhar Gond (name changed) was handed over to the Barhi police station in Katni district by two persons on the suspicion of theft. At the police station, the victim, a Class VIII student, was locked-up and beaten by the policemen. When he kept denying the theft charges, four policemen allegedly inflicted electric shocks to his genitals, resulting in severe bodily injuries. As the condition of the minor deteriorated after the torture, the police took him back to the village and left him a few metres away from the hamlet.
ACHR filed a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on 15 February 2012. While two policemen have been suspended for their inaction and negligence as per the latest proceedings of the NHRC (http://achrweb.org/press/
The Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) have been constituted in all the 50 districts but many CWC members do not attend the meetings at all. In addition, proper procedures are not followed by the CWCs. There were instances where the CWC had given children in foster care without following due procedure. Further, the CWCs are sitting for only two days in a week i.e. 8 sittings in a month while the Integrated Child Protection Scheme provides for 12 sitting per month to perform other functions such as inspections, follow up of individual care plans etc.
The Children Homes are not only inadequate but inspection of Child Care Institutes (CCIs) in the state is seldom carried out. On 22 November 2011, the state government of Madhya Pradesh stated that many of the 70 Child Care Institutes (CCIs) identified in the state were functioning without registration, thereby exposing the children to abuse.
Asian Centre for Human Rights recommended to the State Government of Madhya Pradesh and Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India to instruct the JJBs and CWCs and the Superintendents of the Observation Homes, Special Homes and Children’s Home to inquire as to whether any child taken into custody have been subjected to violations of the Juvenile Justice Act; increase the number of Special Homes to reduce over-crowding and ensure that juveniles found guilty by the JJBs are not sent to the Observation Homes and Children’s Home; rationalise the number of Observation Homes in term of capacity and manpower and to use cluster approach for Homes; increase the number of sittings, inspections and inquiries by the CWCs; remove members of the CWCs who do not attend two meetings consecutively without prior notice providing valid reasons; reduce pendency of cases by increasing sitting of the JJBs; fill up the post of all members of the JJBs and provide sitting and travel allowances as per the Madhya Pradesh Juvenile Justice Rules 2003 (amended in 2008); increase and constitute Observation Homes in the rest 32 districts where they have not been established as yet; take necessary measures against Children’s Homes not registered with the State Government; designate police officers as “Juvenile or Child Welfare Officers” in every police station who shall be members of the Special Juvenile Police Units and train them; and provide training for all members of JJBs and the Probation Officers in the state.