Juveniles' right to fair justice being violated

Following the release of six juveniles in conflict with law from various jails in the region, Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), P P Baburaj has said that juveniles’ right to fair justice proceedings have been violated by sending them to jails.

Of the six juveniles who have now taken shelter in the Government Observation Home in the city, four juveniles had been imprisoned at Central Prisons, Mysore, one at Nanjangud sub-jail, and another at Madikeri prison.

Noting that the number of juvenile imprisonments were on a rise in the recent past, Baburaj said that such incidents display inadequacies in implementing the Delhi High Court order of March 21, 2012. As per the order, “As and when a young person is apprehended/ arrested and he is produced before the Magistrate, it will be the duty of the Magistrate also to order ascertainment of age of such a person. The Magistrate shall, in all such cases, undertake this exercise wherefrom the young person from his/ her looks appears to be below 18 years of age and also in all those cases where in the arrest memo age is stated to be 18-21 years”.

Irrespective of the court decision, the juveniles were sent to prison, as police recorded their age as above 18 years in the arrest memo and also since juveniles did not possess documents to prove their juvenility, he said. They were transferred to JJB, only after production of age certificates.

Six juveniles

The six juveniles who were released recently were, Muruli, who spent two and half years in Central Prisons, Mysore; Naveen, who spent six months in Nanjangud sub-jail; Manikanta, three months; Ravi, for two and half months; Srinivas for a week -- all in Central Prisons, Mysore; and Ischa Khan, who spent four months in Madikeri jail. Ischa Khan, a juvenile hailing from West Bengal, had to spend months in jail till his birth certificates were produced by his relatives from Kolkata.

“How many juveniles have been imprisoned is not clear, as JJB learns about them only when they are transferred to JJB. Considering the trend seen during the past few months, it is probable that more number of juveniles are lodged in jail,” he said.

He added that police and judiciary must pursue caution in future incidents, to prevent such cases from repeating and must comply with the Delhi High Court order.

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