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Rights body puts Assam on top in juvenile delinquency in NE

Posted on Jan 30, 09:19AM | UNI

Guwahati, Jan 29 : Assam is ranked at top in juvenile delinquency among eight North Eastern states and children are routinely tortured in police custody, a latest study has claimed

Rights group, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), in its report 'Assam: The State of Juvenile Justice' maintained that juvenile justice is in shambles in the State

Assam has been consistently ranking top in juvenile delinquency among the eight north eastern states and in 2011, Assam topped the list with 405 cases

The report stated that there is acute shortage of homes for juveniles in conflict with the law as well as children in need of care and protection

Assam has 27 districts but there are only four Observation Homes and three Children Homes run by the state

Trafficking prone districts like Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon etc do not have any home, the report said

"Assam's negligence of juvenile justice is astounding. It failed to set up 7 new Open Shelters during 2011 despite availability of funds. Because of this failure the Project Approval Board of the Ministry of Women and Child Development declined to accept the request for grants for 3 existing Open Shelters at the 45th PAB meeting on July 11, 2012 under the ICPS," ACHR director Suhas Chakma said

The report further said Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) constituted in all 27 districts of the state remain almost non-functional

Out of the 596 cases registered in 18 districts of Assam during 1st January 2011-31st December 2011, 347 cases were pending

The State Child Protection Society (SCPS), Assam failed to specifically provide the total number of reviews done by the State Government on the pendency of cases before each of the CWCs since their constitution

Assam has constituted Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) in all 27 districts but their functioning remains seriously problematic. As of July 11, 2012, about 1,635 cases were pending before the JJBs

The problem is compounded by the lack of review of the pendency of cases of the JJBs by the Chief Judicial Magistrates (CJMs) as required under section 14(2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006, the ACHR report claimed

In order to address the crisis with the administration of juvenile justice, the ACHR has recommended to the State Government and the Ministry of Women and Child Development to establish adequate Observation Homes, Special Homes and Children Homes to cover and reach out to each of the 27 districts of Assam

Its recommendations include ensuring that the sittings of the JJBs are held regularly as provided under rules, ensure regular review of the pendency of cases of the JJBs by the Chief Judicial Magistrate and training for all members of JJBs, CWCs, Inspection Committees at the State, District and City level, the Probation Officers and the law enforcement officials in the state