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Over 9,600 minors wrongfully locked up in adult prisons across India: Study

The study, released on May 11 in New Delhi, highlights the high number of children sent to adult prisons in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, raising concerns about the juvenile justice system in India. More than 9,600 children have been locked up in adult jails over six years.

EPN Desk11 May 2024 11:03

Representational Image

Representational Image

A recent study has brought to light a concerning issue within the Indian juvenile justice system. Over the span of six years, an alarming number of minors, totaling approximately 9,681, have been improperly detained in adult correctional facilities across the country.

This revelation stems from a comprehensive analysis conducted by the legal justice non-profit organization iProbono, which utilized data acquired through 124 Right to Information (RTI) applications filed across 28 states and two union territories between April 2022 and March 2023.

The report, titled "Incarceration of Children In Prisons in India," was publicly released in New Delhi and underscores the systemic failures that led to these minors being placed in environments not suited for their age group. 

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, mandates that children, whether accused or convicted of crimes, should be housed in juvenile homes rather than adult prisons. 

However, the study's findings indicate that this legal requirement has been frequently overlooked. 

Adding to the details, the study highlights specific instances where the number of children identified by Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) exceeded the number transferred from prisons to juvenile homes. 

For example, in the district prison of Araria and the Central Prison of Bhagalpur in Bihar, the discrepancy in numbers raises questions about the actual implementation of the JJ Act. 

Moreover, two states with significant prison populations, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, did not respond to the RTI queries, leaving a gap in the national data picture.

The study's release event was marked by the poignant testimonies of two children who had been victims of this systemic oversight, having spent formative years of their lives in adult prisons. Their stories serve as a stark reminder of the personal impact of such policy failures. 

The keynote address was delivered by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, a former Supreme Court judge and chairperson of the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, further emphasizing the gravity of the situation.

This report not only sheds light on the plight of these children but also calls for immediate action to rectify the lapses in the juvenile justice system, ensuring that the rights and well-being of minors in conflict with the law are adequately protected.

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