Juveniles approach PLF for relief

Several violations of JJ Act reported; juvenile cases being heard at court premises

Despite strict regulations to complete all enquiries of cases pertaining to juveniles within four months, several children continue to be lodged at Observation House in Mysore, even after completion of the said period.

The children have been booked under various sections in Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Kodagu districts.

Following the delay, the aggrieved children have written to People’s Legal Forum (PLF), Mysore seeking assistance in disposing their cases and to take suitable legal action against the delay. Another violation of norms pertaining to juveniles from the above said districts is that their cases are heard in court premises. The Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act) prohibits hearing of juvenile cases at court premises.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, director of PLF, P P Baburaj said that four children, who have been lodged at Observation Home, Mysore, would communicate the concerns raised by the juveniles to the Chairman of Juvenile Justice Implementing Committee of the State. Quoting Section (14) of the JJ Act, he said that all juvenile cases should be completed within four months and can be extended only for special cases. “But, despite spending more than four months at the Observation Home, proceedings of three children from Mandya and one arrested in Kodagu are yet to be started,” he said. 

The juvenile arrested from Kodagu hails from West Bengal, and bail was rejected to him as there was no local surety. In the case of a juvenile from Mandya, who has been at the Observation Home for seven months, police had filed an FIR under IPC section 379 (theft), even though police are not supposed to file FIRs for juveniles in such cases as per JJ Act.

Extended stay

He said that extending the stay of children without any reason amounted to mental harassment, as they are restricted to only two rooms at the Home, without any developmental activities. “While Juvenile Justice Act aims at reforming children, so that they can come back to the mainstream, prolonging their stay at observation homes with little infrastructure might be detrimental to them,” he said.

On hearing cases in court premises, he said that it went against the Act. “If they have no facilities, temporary arrangements should be made to hear cases away from court premises,” he said.

Mandya District Child Protection Officer, Diwakar said that enquiry has been started in several cases and acknowledged that there was a delay in disposing cases.

Maheshchandra Guru, member of Juvenile Justice Board, Mandya, said that police had delayed filing chrgesheets in cases pertaining to juveniles. “We have discussed with the authorities concerned to sort out the issues,” he said.

On hearings being held at Court premises, he said that hearings which were held at Girls Balamandira in Mandya, was shifted to court premises owing to the lack of infrastructure. “The hearings have been held at the court for the past two months,” he said. 

He added that JJB was looking for a new building, and hearing of juvenile cases will be held in the new building within the next few days.

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