Three juveniles, unable to bear the harassment and depression caused due to the atmosphere in their remand home in Madivala, attempted suicide by consuming poison and had to be hospitalised. This happened as recently as on January 31 this year.
Another 16-year-old boy was illegally detained without any diary entry, handcuffed, beaten, chained and inadequately fed during his detention at the Sampigehalli police station in Bangalore following his arrest on 17 December, 2011.
These are some of the incidents highlighting the sorry state of affairs in the juvenile homes in Karnataka, where the youngsters are expected to get guidance on values, character and the need for reforming themselves to lead a normal and happy life.
However, according to the Asian Centre for Human Rights' (ACHR) report, titled ‘The State of Juvenile Justice in Karnataka', the administration of juvenile justice remains deplorable and children incarcerated in congested and appalling living conditions in the State.
Though the State has established Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) in 28 out of 30 districts, the cases pending before the JJBs are not regularly heard — in clear violation of Section 14(2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. As of 10 February 2012, there were about 2,500 cases pending under the Juvenile Justice Act in Karnataka and 1,567 cases pending as of December 2011 in Bangalore Urban District alone.
Instead of increasing vigilance over the Observation Homes, Special Homes and Children's Homes, which have become centres of abuse, the State, in October 2010, put the most regressive condition that “members of the Child Welfare Committees cannot visit child care institutions, when they are not holding a sitting, without prior permission of the heads of these institutions”.
In clear violations of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules") and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Karnataka Rules, 2010, whichprovides for segregation of the inmates on the basis of their gender, degree of offence and age (preferably up to 12 years, 12-16 years and 16 years and above), have not been complied with.
The non- separation of the inmates on the basis of their age undermines the danger to juveniles of "criminal contamination".
At Children Home for Boys, Chikmagalur, boys and girls are being kept in the same home and no inspection took place in the Home during 2009-2011.