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A child cannot be put behind bars, rules SC

‘Police have no right to detain children’

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. 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, said the court.

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 reports about children detained 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.

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