The Dossier
Juvenile Justice

Arrests Now Easier, Will J&K Serve Juvenile Justice?

Juvenile Justice
(Photo credit: Times of India)

It was on August 5, 2019, when Home Minister Amit Shah in parliament announced that the central government would scrap Article 370, a constitutional provision that grants special status and allows the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir to make its own laws. The order was then, subsequently approved by the Indian President, and the state of Jammu & Kashmir was divided into two union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party had pushed for an end to Jammu & Kashmir’s special constitutional status, arguing that such laws had hindered its integration with the rest of India. Article 370 of the Indian constitution carves out a special status to the state that limits the Indian parliament’s power to make laws for the state of J&K. The special status was described as temporary, and allows the Indian state to have its own constitution, its own flag, and take decisions except for any matter that is related to defence and foreign affairs.

Following the abrogation of Article 370, many central laws were extended to the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Among the central laws extended to state, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, was also now extended to the UT.

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What Is Juvenile Justice Act?

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, replaced the pre-existing Juvenile Justice act of 2000. There was a need for a separate justice system for children in conflict with the law. The main concern of the act was to protect the right of the child to reintegrate with society without any judicial proceedings initiated.

Under the JJ Act, when a child alleged to be in conflict with law is apprehended by the police, such child shall be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated child welfare police officer, who shall produce the child before the board without any loss of time but within a period of twenty-four hours of apprehending the child”. It states that “in no case, a child alleged to be in conflict with the law shall be placed in police lock-up or lodged in a jail”.

In 2015, after public outrage over December 16, 2012, gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old in New Delhi, where one of the perpetrators was a minor aged 17, the law was amended to reduce the age of juveniles committing “heinous offences” from 18 to 16.

Law Extended In Kashmir Misses On Juvenile Justice:

The extension of the Juvenile Justice Act in Jammu & Kashmir allows the lawful detention of the already vulnerable teenagers throwing stones in the valley. This act led to the detention of the children in the valley, and their incarnation in the adult jails. The FIRs filed against juveniles in 2018-2019 reveals that those caught for throwing stones were booked under Indian Penal Code sections, such as section 307 (attempt to murder), section 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 section (rioting, armed with deadly weapons) and section 336 (endangering life and security of others).

A report in Article 14 reported that after the government ended the special constitutional provision provided to Jammu & Kashmir, 17-year-old Javaid (name changed), who joined the raging street protests, was arrested by the police. He was kept in the police custody for six days, where he was badly beaten by the police. He was released when he fell unconscious.

Saleem (name changed), another 17-year-old boy, was picked up during a night raid, a day after the abrogation of Article 370, and kept in illegal detention for more than a month. Saleem was also beaten by the police and was released after 37 days of his custody.

The Telegraph also reported that an 11-year-old boy was illegally detained between August 5 and August 11. Political and social activists who were in Jammu and Kashmir from August 9 to 13 told reporters in Delhi that there were boys even younger in detention.

Reports of child-rights abuse in Jammu and Kashmir are not new. In 2018, a report was published by the Jammu & Kashmir coalition Civil Society (JKCCS), also documented several cases of abuse. In many cases, according to the report, boys who hurled stones were charged under the Public Security Act (PSA), a law that allows no access to a lawyer. In other cases, the alleged offenders were reported to be under 18.

Legal experts believe that reducing the age of juveniles will make them vulnerable. The former governor of Jammu & Kashmir Satya Pal Malik had appeared to have sensed the trouble the new law could bring and withheld assent. быстрый займ пенсионерамбыстрый займ на карту сбербанка онлайнзайм на лицевой счет онлайн ёfin займонлайн займ на карту с плохой кикраткосрочный займ онлайн

Mahima Joshi

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