Staff Reporter

Court lauds measures to prevent juveniles from taking to a life of crime

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday said that it appreciated the endeavour of the State Government in taking steps to prevent juveniles from taking to a life of crime but said that any step it would take in this direction would have to be according the law.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice Jawad Rahim made the remark when it was confronted with a habeas corpus petition by parents of three juveniles seeking their release from the custody of Child Welfare Committee.

The parents claimed that the CWC had refused to hand over their children to them, on the pretext that they wanted to save the juveniles from taking to a life of crime. The CWC had refused to budge even after advocates hired by them had sought the release of the children, they said.

When the matter came up, the Bench was told that the three children, Sampangi, Prabhu and Manjunath, were being beaten up by people at Yelahanka on July 14, 2007, for attempting to steal a mobile phone. A citizen had called up Childline which then rescued the children and placed them in “Bala Mandira” in R.T. Nagar.

The CWC conducted proceedings on July 15 and decided to place the three children in the shelter it ran for juveniles. When a relative of the children came to the shelter and asked for them to be returned, the CWC officials refused to do so.

The CWC informed the court that it had decided to keep the children at the home as it wanted to prevent them from taking to a life of crime. The Bench noted that though the intention of the Government was laudable, its actions should be according to the law. It said that according to the law, the children had to be handed over to their parents, and directed the CWC to hand the children over to their families.