HC asks for status report on mayhem at juvenile home

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of living conditions at the facility for boys

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published:August 15, 2013 6:04 am

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognizance of living conditions at the Juvenile Boys Home in North Delhi,which was last week overrun by its inmates who damaged the building and furniture,and set blankets and bedsheets on fire in protest against poor living

conditions.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmad and Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Delhi government and the Delhi Police to submit a status report of the incident,which lasted three days,August 8-10.

Two judges of the high court’s Juvenile Justice Committee visited the observation home on Saturday and recommended suo motu measures to monitor the situation. The visiting judges found that the infrastructure and sanitation conditions at the observation home were “abysmal” and that the inmates were deprived of any “constructive activity”.

According to reports,the premises of the home are in a dilapidated condition,with damaged walls and overflowing sewers. Cleanliness is also an issue at the home. The high court has appointed senior lawyer A J Bhambhani as amicus curiae to look into the issues and assist the court in monitoring the situation.

“The committee was of the view that the situation calls for immediate remedial measures,” the court noted. The issue will now be taken up next week for deliberation on the steps to be taken.

Under the Juvenile Justice Act,juvenile observation homes are supposed to provide reform opportunities to the inmates,with education,employment and other training. However,according to reports,the inmates at the North Delhi home were being provided with few constructive activities. In addition,the inmates reportedly also routinely damage the walls,doors,fans,bulbs and other infrastructure at the home to vent their “frustration and anger”.

Last week,24 boys staying at the home had created a ruckus with many of them reportedly climbing the rooftop,pelting stones at neighbours and vehicles,setting blankets and bedsheets on fire and,according to police,even keeping a caretaker hostage for hours,demanding better food and living conditions.

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