1244 words free essay on Juvenile Delinquency in India



The administration of justice in India, unlike progressive countries is punitive rather than corrective. While in progressive countries even the adult convicts, live comfortably in rooms, on comfortable beds, have good food and enjoy the luxury of radio and television sets in their rooms, the prisoners in India are huddled in barracks having 6' x 2' cement beds, one mat and two blankets.

A European would just wonder as to how the prisoners survive with the food that is served to them. The treatment of the Jail authorities is so harsh and unfriendly that even an innocent prisoner turns into a hard core criminal during his tenure in jail. This is what even a child criminal or under-trial experiences behind the bars.

According to the constitution there should be separate jails for the juvenile prisoners or under-trials. They are Observation Homes formerly known as Remand Homes. If the children are kept in the jails with adults the poor boys have to experience, rather undergo sexual assaults by hardened criminals and sometimes even Jail officials.

In 1985, on the writ petition filed by a lady advocate, the Supreme Court ordered a judge to make an enquiry into the living conditions of child inhabitants of Tihar Jail in Delhi. The report submitted by the Judge was a record of inhuman cruelty meted out to the inarticulate jail children. Almost all of them were sexually assaulted and many had caught venereal infection and skin diseases from the prisoners. The medical facilities were so inadequate that the court had to ask the government to provide them with medical aid from outside.

It seems the injunction passed by the Supreme Court had no consequential effect till April 1, 1987 for a Supreme Court bench presided over by Chief Justice R. S. Pathak again requested the District Judge of Delhi to enquire about the sexual assaults on juvenile prisoners. It also asked the additional solicitor general to find out from the Delhi Administration if it was possible to construct a separate jail for the young prisoners far away from the Tihar Jail. It is clear that the implementation of judicial orders is ignored by the administration in this respect.

This abuse can be avoided if there are Remand Homes for children". Strangely enough many of the states including almost all the Union Territories (including Delhi) have no remand homes. Some states having 33 to 5~ districts have only one or two. The total number of Remand Homes in the country is 21.

Children, while being prosecuted, cannot be sent from all the districts to these one or two remand homes in a state. Even after prosecution they are thrown to wolves in the jails. Under Indian Criminal Code a man is imprisoned for at least two years for sodomy. Outside, the child or his parents can sue the culprit in the court. Inside the Jail he is thrashed if he opposes or even speaks of it to anyone.

The administration of justice for the children should be in juvenile courts. They are expected to have judges who have a special knowledge of the psychology of children. In the absence of these courts justice is as punitive as for the hardened criminals. But in the world's 'biggest democracy' 12 States and five out of 9 union territories have no juvenile courts for children. They include among others, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and chandigarh. U. P. with 70 districts has 31, Madhya Pradesh 23. But Punjab with 17 districts has only 2 and Himachal Pradesh with 12 districts has only one. Without juvenile courts the children are generally at the mercy of the police and the public prosecutors who are generally hostile to all whether adults or children.

The arrest of children is sometimes indiscriminate. But till the court -releases them they have to remain in judicial custody—a fine name given to ail barracks. By the time they are released, (and most of them are released) all have to undergo all the travails of jail life.

In 1985, Bureau of Police Research and Development made available the information regarding the arrest of children in 1981. Hearts would move with pity when we come to Know that out of 1, 90,567 children arrested that year 31,987 belonged to the "-16 age group—the age group that requires our love, affection and care. Out of these 9,528, were below the age of 12, sent to jails to experience human treatment. They were arrested for crimes ranging from petty thefts to burglary, dacoity, murder and even rape. 777 of the 9528, in the 7-12 age groups were girls.

In the year 1984, as the records show, the highest number of children in the age group 12-16 were in West Bengal (490) followed by 266 in Bihar, 129 in M.P. and 124 in Assam.

In 1982 Supreme Court advocate Kapila Hingorani filed a case on behalf of children in Bihar Jails. It took Bihar government a year to admit before the Supreme Court that there were 425 children in Bihar Jails in the age group 9-16. Although the Supreme Court had ordered the release of children from the jails of Kerala in 1982, from Bihar in 1983 and Orissa in 1984 it is not empowered to order a general release in the whole country. Administration of Jails is in the hands of States.

Neither the Central Government nor the State ones seem very serious about the fate of children in jails. The orders of even Supreme Court are ignored with impunity. On 14th February, 1983 Supreme Court had asked the Legal Aid and Advice Committee of Maharashtra to nominate a Judge to visit Bombay Central Jail every fort night to look into the condition of children.

A journalist who contacted Jail authorities after a year and a half was informed that no Judge ever visited the jail. The story of the remand home at Thiruvanchoor, 22 km from Kottayam is no different. A report dated 12th Jan., 1986 reveals that of the 48 juvenile inmates most were being trained in different crimes by the elderly boys.

The juvenile delinquency in the country has been increasing. The children inside the Jails get training in so many evils. When they are out, many of them become drug addicts too. Different groups of hard core criminals and offenders train these children in all types of crimes. In a way a big army of future criminals is being raised in the country, the soldiers of which can murder any one on the behest of their leaders.

It is a national problem. On the one hand little children, most of whom belong to poor families (97% in the age group 7-12 have parents whose income is less than Rs. 500 per month, 70.4% with less than 150 per month. 22.5% belong to the scheduled castes while 11.5% to the scheduled tribes) who should be looked after affectionately rot in Jails on the other, out of our disinterestedness we are rearing up a race of criminals that may create a havoc in the decades to come.

Neither the Government nor any voluntary organization has any solid scheme of rehabilitation of these little—crushed flowers of the nation. Let us awake to the graveness of the situation before these poor souls turn total devils. Let us have a planning not simply for the children of elite families but for those of the poor too to which belong 75 % of the children of the nation.