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Don’t detain children in jails, lockups, Supreme Court tells police

The law is meant to protect children and not detain them in jail or keep them in police custody. The police cannot torture children, the Supreme Court has observed. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the police have no right to detain children in conflict with law in a lockup or a jail.

A juvenile in conflict with law, if apprehended, has to be placed immediately under the care of the special juvenile police unit or a designated child welfare officer. The child has to be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

“Once a child is produced before a JJB, bail is the rule,” a Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose declared. And even if, for some reason, bail is not granted, a child cannot be put behind bars. He has to be lodged either in an observation home or in a place of safety.

The law is meant to protect children and not detain them in jail or keep them in police custody. The police cannot torture children.

The eight-page order on February 10 came after the court’s attention was drawn by the recent media reports about “children being detained in police custody and tortured in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh”.

The order sends a significant message to the authorities in the light of news reports about children detained in Delhi and at Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh in connection with the protests against the Citizenship (Amendments) Act.

The Bench has issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Commissions for Protection of Child Rights and directed them to file their responses within three weeks. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has also been asked to look into the matter and submit a report through the Centre within three weeks.

The court said the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, is a welfare law. The JJBs, formed under this Act, are not intended to serve the authorities as “silent spectators”, the court observed.

“If it comes to the knowledge of the JJBs that a child has been detained in prison or police lockup, they should ensure that the child is immediately granted bail or sent to an observation home or a place of safety. The Act cannot be flouted by anybody, least of all by the police,” the court said.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 4:01:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dont-detain-children-in-jails-lockups-supreme-court-tells-police/article30803516.ece

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