Children are the greatest gift to humanity and supreme assets of the nation.

More than a century ago, Abraham Lincoln said: “A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He is going to where you are sitting, and when you are gone, attend to those things you think are important.

You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on him. The fate of humanity is in his hands. Children are a human resource, invaluable but vulnerable, yet developing with potentiality to bloom with joy in an atmosphere of caring society. They are great promise of tomorrow, the dawn of humanity and bud of social development.

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A child of today can not develop to be a responsible and productive member of tomorrow’s unless an environment which is conducive to his social and physical health is assured to him. A humanist approach towards children is embedded in Indian culture.

Ancient Indian jurisprudence emphasized that there could be no real gift or sale of one’s child. This meant that any unjustified parting with the child is unlawful.

Kautilya prescribed that it is the duty of village elders to ensure proper development of the infants. Children are vulnerable and due to lack of proper care and attention they are taking law in there hands.

In a developing country like India the problem of juvenile neglect and delinquency is considerably low but gradually increasing at good rate. Considering the magnitude of the problem and issues involved, analysis indicates that the number of factors for neglect and delinquency are mostly common and interrelated, based on socio-economic and psychological reasons.

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Poverty, broken homes, family tension , emotional abuse,  rural – urban migration, break down of social values, atrocities and abuse by parents or guardian, faulty education and such other conditions explain the phenomena of juvenile delinquency. The neglect of child by their parents, family, society create detrimental effect on their physical, mental growth and over  all development.

Needless to say that most of the factors causing delinquency are in plenty in Indian context and any attempt to prevent and control them can be fruitful for society. After all, children represent nation and coming future of country.

THE JUVENILE JUSTICE (Care and Protection Of Children) ACT,2000:

Under the Constitution of India, 1950, Article’s 15(3), 39(e), (f); 45 and 47 impose constitutional obligation upon state for ensuring that all the needs of the children are fulfilled and their basic rights are protected.

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At international level , on 20th November , 1989 The United Nation General assembly has adopted the convention on the right of the  child. This convention does not put emphasis on judicial proceedings but prescribes a set of standard to be followed by all the member nations. In insist on social integration of child victims and on the part of state parties to secure best interest of child.

On the 11th December, 1992 government of India ratified said convention ,and it was felt necessary to enact the law relating to juvenile justice in view of the provision laid down in the convention and consequently  the above Act was the outcome of the effort of parliament. Under J.J. Act child below the age of 18 is treated as juvenile, and any juvenile in conflict with law is prosecuted according to the provisions of said Act, with the recent thinking and the emerging need of treatment and handing of juveniles. The objective of this legislation is to insure the care, protection and development needs of the children who are either neglected or have come into conflict with law constituting delinquency.

Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in Hari Ram Vs State of Rajasthan that offence committed by juveniles is to be dealt different from law applicable to adults. Very scheme of Act is rehabilitation in nature and not adversial which the court generally uses to. Its implementation thus requires a complete change in the mind set of those who are vested with authority of enforcing the same without which it will be almost impossible to achieve its objects. The juvenile justice system in India is an offshoot of the criminal justice system.

Rehabilitation of Juveniles: The very Nature of the Act is curative not punitive.  Delinquent juvenile due to their immature understanding Or unfavorable environment use to commit offence, but they have a long road to go and hence it’s a moral duty on court and society to provide them with a chance to live healthy live and to bring them in main stream of development.  There are very efficient and effective measures of rehabilitation for juvenile delinquent.

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OBSERVATION Homes:

The state govt. may establish and maintain either by itself or in association with voluntary organizations children’s homes, in every district or group of district. Children’s homes are constructed for the reception of child in need of care and protection during the pendency of an inquiry and subsequently for their care, treatment, education, training, development and rehabilitation.

Shelter Homes: SHELTER is a registered, voluntary welfare organization for children and teenagers who have been abandoned, neglected, orphaned or abused. Guided by the vision to give children at risk a childhood and future by protecting, guiding and healing them, and by building strong communities and loving families, Shelter’s services and initiatives are aimed at:

  • Providing care or children at risk through our residential homes, counseling, therapy and other services.
  • Proactively raising public awareness on child abuse, child protection, parenting and youth issues, and equipping individuals with relevant skills to detect signs of abuse and to take action.

Prayas is one of India’s largest Non Profit Organisation dedicated to child rehabilitation.

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Setting up child welfare committee:

It is a sole authority to deal with matters concerning children in need of care and protection established by state govt.  A committee to be constituted in each district, and consist of a chairperson and four other persons one of whom at least should be a women.

The committee has final authority to deal with matters concerning children in need of care, protection, development and rehabilitation of the children as well as to provide for their basic needs and human rights. Children in need of care and protection are sent directly to the children’s home by the CWC that passes necessary orders for their rehabilitation, restoration and social re-integration.

Rehabilitation of Juvenile after being Released or Acquitted:

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When any child in conflict with law is released or acquitted and in the opinion of child welfare committee, he is in need of rehabilitation and social integration to come in the main stream of the society as an alternative by:

Adoption:

It is the primary responsibility of the family for providing care and protection to the child. The child shall be adopted for the purpose of rehabilitation of such children as are orphaned, abandoned, neglected or abused by means of institutional or non-institutional method. Children’s and the state govt. owned institution shall be recognized  as adoption agencies and these agencies are subjected to scrutiny and placement for adoption.

Foster Care:

Is the term used for a system in which a minor who has been made a ward is place in the private homes of a state certified caregiver. The state by the family court and child protection agency stand in loco parents to the minor, making all legal decisions while the foster parents are responsible for day to day care of said minor. Foster care is intended to be a short term situation until permanent placement can be made.

Setting up After Care Organisation:

The state govt. is under statutory obligation to lay down the scheme and guidelines for setting up care organization, when the juvenile leaves special homes. The provision is incorporated by the legislature with a view of enabling  the juveniles to lead an honest , industrious and useful  life.

Critical Examination:

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.  News of sexual harassment at Care homes or Foster care are very often.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.

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. A good legislation will be of no use if it is not implemented and monitored in effective way.

The urgency with which child policy be implemented is highlighted by Gabrial Mistral, the noble Laureate, who said “we are guilty of many errors and faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the foundation of life .Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood being made

By

Abhishek Singh

Email: abhishek25dec-at-gmail.com