‘Need stricter implementation of JJ Act’: Justice Chandrachud
Justice Chandrachud said children in conflict with law were not just offenders, they were victims too.
Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud on Saturday called for a stricter implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) so that children in conflict with law can be rehabilitated and re-integrated into mainstream society, as is the objective of the law that was notified in 2015.
“It is evident that there is a chasm between the ideals and implementation of these legislations,” said the judge, while delivering his keynote address at a conference organized by Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee (JJC) and Unicef on juvenile justice care. Representatives of states governments, police departments and NGOs participated in the conference.
Justice Chandrachud said children in conflict with law were not just offenders, they were victims too. He read out the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data to argue his point that there has been a steady increase in crimes against children.
In 2014, there were 89,423 instances of crimes against children, which increased to 129,032 in 2017. “That’s an increase of 44.29% over a period of three years,” the judge said.
Breaking the figures further, he said the most number of offences committed against children in 2017 were kidnapping and abduction, which constituted 42% of cases followed by offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), including rape, that constituted 25.3%.
Children covered under the JJA needed economic and planned support, besides rehabilitation and re-integration to mainstream society, he emphasized. Statistics, he said, showed that 42.39% of children in conflict with the law belonged to families with low income.
“There is a strong correlation between deprivation of economic resources and juvenile delinquency,” he added.
Justice Deepak Gupta, chairman of JJC, SC, stressed on the need to have a robust mechanism to help delinquent juveniles who leave childcare institutions once they become adults. “We need aftercare programmes so that such juveniles do not face problems to reintegrate with the society,” he said.
Justice Chandrachud said though there exists a provision for aftercare within the JJA, the provisions have not been uniformly applied.
- Juvenile Justice Act