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Apex court panel to monitor juvenile homes in India

Oct 11, 2013

The Chief Justice of India has formed a committee to propose measures to provide care and address the needs of children in the state's immediate care.

Close on the heels of a recent incident in Delhi when inmates of a juvenile home ran amock, vandalised the home and escaped, the Supreme Court today said it would monitor homes for delinquents across the country.

A committee under Justice Madan B Lokur has now been set up to monitor conditions of juvenile homes. The committee will make surprise visits and propose correctional measures.

Chief Justice of India, Justice P Sathasivam, has written to the high courts informing them of the proposed panel and asking them to nominate a senior judge to the panel.

The Hindu newspaper quoteed Justice Sathasivam as saying that Parliament’s vision of taking care of the needs of children so that their rights are fully protected is “not bearing fruition to the optimum level.”

The High Court judge, in turn, will involve district and sessions judges and other judicial functionaries to get reports on the state of the reformatory facilities and send these to the Supereme Court.

Before the incident in the juvinile home in Delhi, 35 young men, all accused of serious charges, even rape and murder had escaped from a Madhya Pradesh juvenile home.

Supreme Court Advocate, Anant K Asthana, described the development as "historic".

The Indian Express quotes the advocate saying, "It is a landmark step to make certain the provisions of the Act are duly followed and that real justice is delivered."

The Supreme Court had recently been deluged with complaints on conditions in juvenile homes. Opinion leaders across the country have also come out to say that the homes do not provide a meaningful rehabilitating environment for reforming minor delinquents.

The involvement of a juvenile in a the rape of a young lady in a moving bus plying on the streets of New Delhi on December 16 last year also set a tone for a debate on the laws applicable to juveniles and the conditions of the correctional facilities meant for them.

Incidence of crime involving young people have shown a steep increase in the country. According to records maintained at the National Crime Records Bureau, the last year saw 31,973 crimes by juveniles, up from 27,541 in 2002. The Delhi police alone registered, 1,171 cases against juveniles during the past year and the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra over four times the Delhi number.

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