A former Juvenile Justice Board member and Bombay High Court lawyer wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray expressing concerns over children in conflict of the law who are in shelter homes and observation homes across the state. He sought masks, sanitisers and other facilities, as well as their speedy release to avoid overcrowding in correction homes during COVID-19.
Advocate Dipak Kumar Chattopadhyay wrote to Thackeray exhorting him to issue a circular regarding the release of children detained in observation homes for petty crimes as per the Supreme Court order.
The high-powered committee, constituted in the state following the Supreme Court order on decongesting prisons had last week, decided that under trial prisoners booked for offences with maximum punishment up to seven years will be released on interim bail initially for 45 days by furnishing personal bonds.
The committee’s order will also include those being tried by the sessions court, but excludes those booked for serious offences under special laws, including Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The accused will be required to report to the police once every 30 days.
The letter by Chattopadhyay stated that as there is no mention of juveniles in the directions issued by the high-powered committee, and that the Chief Minister should direct the Women and Children Welfare Department to initiate measures to release them in an expedited manner due to the fear of spreading of the virus.
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