[Juvenile Justice] Delhi High Court seeks data of children sent from adult jails to care homes
By Team SLC
The Delhi High Court has granted a spate of orders for the execution of rehabilitative initiatives for adolescents in trouble with the law who are in or have recently left care institutions in the city.
A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani was hearing a suo motu case in which it was told that all cases of small offences against minors that had been lingering for the previous six months to a year had been disposed of, and the pendency was at “nil” as of December 10, 2021.
The Delhi government was required to provide a list of all such youngsters who were transferred from adult prisons to juvenile homes in the previous five years.
A prior High Court judgement had resulted in the termination of 91 similar instances, and Individual Care Plans (ICP) had been requested in these situations.
In its ongoing attempts to streamline the functioning of the juvenile justice delivery system, the Court referred to the schemes under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act) and Juvenile Justice Rules (JJ Rules) after hearing from the Amicus Curiae and other interested parties.
Rehabilitation and Care Plans
The plan mandates that every child in legal trouble receive an ICP, according to the Court. A rehabilitation-cum-placement officer is also required to write out a rehabilitation card under the JJ plan when a kid is remanded to a juvenile home to monitor the child’s development based on the ICP and his rehabilitation card.
“We direct that pursuant to drawing-up an ICP and a rehabilitation card, every Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) seized of an enquiry shall call for the ICP and the rehabilitation card from the Superintendent of the home concerned and review the progress of the child as reflected in such card, on a quarterly basis, i.e., once every three months, and issue necessary directions if it is found that the ICP as contained in the rehabilitation card is not being implemented effectively,” the Bench held.
Post release plan
All JJBs have been required to ensure that a post-release plan is set up two months before a child is due to leave a child care institution, proposing the kid’s aftercare, and that the plan be presented to the JJB concerned, along with the child, two months before release.
“At that stage, the JJB must vet the post-release plan and issue necessary directions for its modification, monitoring and implementation, as may be required in a given case in compliance of the requirements of the JJ rules,” the Court directed.
The State was compelled to appoint 11 District Child Protection Officers (DCPOs) because Delhi had 11 judicial districts. It was pointed out, however, that only four DCPOs have been appointed so far.
To address the deficit immediately, the Court ordered the Delhi government to appoint seven extra DCPOs in accordance with the JJ Act and JJ Rules.
List of care homes to be given to JJBs
The JJBs were found to be lacking in formal and complete information on the facilities in Delhi that provide informal education and vocational training to children in childcare homes, according to the Bench.
To solve this issue, the Delhi government, in collaboration with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, was ordered to compile or create a directory. The list should include the names, addresses, and other contact information for any governmental and non-governmental organisations in Delhi that provide such training.
“Such directory be provided to all JJBs, to facilitate the JJBs in issuing necessary directions to the most appropriate institution/facility to provide informal education and vocational training to delinquent children housed in child care institutions in Delhi,” it stated.
List of children transferred from jails to care homes
The Court wanted to know how many juveniles were transferred from adult jails to juvenile jails in order to better understand the “systemic inadequacies” that led to them ending up in adult jails.
“We direct the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to furnish to this court, the number of children/juveniles, who were transferred from adult jails to juvenile justice homes/child care institutions in the last 05 years, with the details of the numbers found in Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails respectively,” the order said.
The Court wanted to know when these youngsters were admitted to jails, when they were transferred from adult jails to juvenile justice facilities, and what crimes they were charged with.
On January 21, 2022, the subject will be revisited.
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