It is being increasing recognised that the children are the most vulnerable group in any population and need special care and protection. The Constitution of India imposes responsibility on the State to ensure that needs of children are met and their basic human rights are protected. Enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act – 2000 (hereinafter mentioned as Act) seeks to achieve this objective and amends the legal position relating to the Juvenile in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
The Act imposes certain duties on police and it envisages creation of certain institutions including Juvenile Justice Board, Special Juvenile Police Unit and Juvenile Officers. These are intended to ensure due attention of state apparatus to juveniles who come in conflict with law or other children requiring protection receive due attention of State apparatus. This Standing Order intends to make police officers aware of the salient provisions of the Act and the duties imposed on them while dealing with children including those in conflict with law.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE ACT:
WHO IS A JUVENILE ?
Under the Act, a ‘Juvenile’ means a person who has not completed eighteenth year of age.
JUVENILE JUSTICE BOARD:
Juvenile Justice Board shall be constituted by the State Governments for exercising the powers and discharging the duties in relation to juveniles in conflict with law. The Board shall have the power to deal exclusively with all proceedings under the act relating to juveniles in conflict with Law.
SPECIAL JUVENILE POLICE UNIT:
Special Juvenile Police Unit means a unit of the police force of a state designated for handling of juveniles or children u/s 63 of the Act. The Woman and Child Support Unit of Chandigarh Police shall be Special Juvenile Police Unit for all cases relating to juvenile victims and delinquents. The DSP/Woman and Child Support Unit shall be the Nodal Officer for all cases involving juveniles.
JUVENILE OR CHILD WELFARE OFFICERS:
The Act envisages that in every Police Station officers with aptitude and appropriate training and orientation may be designated as the ‘ Juvenile or the Child Welfare Officer’ who will handle the juvenile. Therefore, every Police Station as per enclosed list (Annexure-A) shall have a NGO/ORs’ who shall be designated as Child Welfare Officers. This list would be updated every three months to ensure changes occasioned by transfers etc. can be circulated to all concerned. Updated list would be issued by SSP/Chandigarh. However, SHO shall be personally responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Act.
DUTIES IMPOSED ON POLICE BY THE ACT:
- As soon as a Juvenile in conflict with law is apprehended by Police he shall be placed under the charge of the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the designated Police Officer, who shall immediately report the matter to a member of the Juvenile Justice Board. Till the time, such Board is constituted in Chandigarh, the juvenile shall be produced before the concerned Court.
- Designated Police Officer of the Police Station apart from dealing with the cases of Juvenile crimes shall also the Nodal Officer for attending the calls from ‘Woman & Child Helpline’ and for investigating cases relating to Child abuse. ‘Woman & Child Helpline’ is Building – Telephone No. 1091 (toll free). This telephone number should be displayed on the Notice Board of all Police Stations and other Units.
- SHOs will ensure that the designated Officers personally attend cases involving child victims.
- Juvenile, who is arrested and is not released on bail by Officer Incharge of Police Station, shall be kept only in observation home until he can be brought before a Board/Court.
- Officer/In-charge of Police Station as soon as may be after arrest of a Juvenile shall inform parent or guardian of the Juvenile and direct him to be present at the Board. Officer/In-charge of Police Stations shall inform Probation Officer of such arrest to enable him to obtain information regarding antecedents and family background of the juvenile.