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Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Juveniles beg justice


Government apathy turning juvenile delinquents suicidal
HARSHAKUMAR KUGWE | Issue Dated: April 22, 2012, New Delhi
Tags : Juveniles beg justice in Karnataka | Government apathy towards juvenile in Karnataka |


In January this year three inmates of the Government Remand Home for Boys and Girls at Madivala, a home for juvenile delinquents in Bangalore, attempted suicide by consuming pesticide. February saw a set of 30 children try to escape from another juvenile home in the area. These are not isolated events but underline the plight of inmates lodged at juvenile homes across Karnataka.
According to a recent study conducted by the Asian Centre for Human Rights, the administration of juvenile justice is appalling across the state. The children live in congested quarters with no facilities for education, exercise and play apart from being given inadequate nutrition, which is the root cause behind all such recent attempts at suicide or escape.
After the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, theJuvenile Justice Rules (Care and Protection of Children) for the states were drawn up in 2007. Under these, child protection in Karnataka was brought under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). This would have been a powerful system, only if the government had managed to staff it properly. 
Without enough staff, there are as many as 2,500 cases pending under the Juvenile Justice Act in Karnataka (as of Feb 2012). Despite having Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) in 28 out of the 30 districts, the cases pending before the JJBs are not regularly heard, in a clear violation of Section 14(2) of the Juvenile Justice Act. 
Added to this is the lack of awareness about rules among police personnel. “The ridiculous thing is that in many police stations, the personnel hardly have any knowledge of the guidelines mentioned in the JJ Act. As a result, there has been widespread assault on children in police custody, against the provisions of the law,” says Dr. Nataraj, a professor of criminology and former Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Chitradurga district.
The system was further hamstrung by a October 2010 notice sent by the Karnataka government to the conerned authorities, which said that members of the Child Welfare Committee cannot visit child care institutions when they are not holding a sitting without the prior permission of the heads of these institutions. 
Government apathy, lack of proper staff and corruption at many levels have exposed children here to unspeakable deprivation and anguish. The question that begs the asking is, once the children come out of these homes, will they be fit to rejoin society? Abuse by the very people who are meant to protect is perhaps the worst impediment to an effectivejuvenile justice system. 


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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017