Taking note that juvenile inmates in north Delhi’s Sewa Kutir juvenile reform home are not receiving proper legal assistance, as reported by Hindustan Times on July 25, the National Human Rights Commission has called upon the Delhi government to answer on the issue.
The commission has observed that the contents of the report raise serious questions about the treatment of juveniles in the criminal justice system, and the many shortfalls that continue to plague the issue.
It has issued a notice to the secretary of the department of women and child development, calling for a report within two weeks.
HT’s story, based on a report commissioned by the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), had highlighted that many of the 120 inmates in the Kingsway Camp have no access to legal assistance, and many don’t even know why they are lodged here.
Much of the trouble stemmed from a manpower crisis being faced by the DLSA - a single lawyer handles as many 60 cases involving crimes by juvenile at a time.
Despite being overburdened and understaffed, the DLSA has also taken swift action to correct the deficits pointed out by its report. It has increased the number of advocates representing minors before the capital’s juvenile justice boards.
The agency has also issued a fresh advisory laying down detailed guidance for advocates representing the juveniles who were in conflict with the law.