The Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (PSCPCR) is set to inspect all jails in Punjab for the first time to make sure that there is no violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act 2015.
Under the Act, juveniles (children under the age of 18) in custody can be kept only at observation homes and not in jails. The child rights body will visit each jail and will see if there was any minor child who has been kept in jail which, according to the Act, is an unlawful activity.
Last year, a 16-year-old Muslim boy, who was lodged in the Kapurthala jail and was kept with hardened criminals, had died under mysterious circumstances. The incident had brought the Kapurthala police under scanner for hiding the boy’s age and sending a minor to the jail.
The commission’s officials said that they had taken the Kapurthala incident very seriously and were determined to end the illegal activity if carried out anywhere in Punjab.
According to information, the commission had checked observation homes around two years ago, but it is for the first time that commission officials will visit jails. The commission has also written to additional director general of police (prisons) to identify the juveniles in jails of the state.
In the letter, the commission has stated, “the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has expressed concern that children below 18 are lodged in jails. They are required to be put in observation homes.”