Photo of ‘minor’ absconding criminal on Thane police websitehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/photo-of-minor-absconding-criminal-on-thane-police-website/

Photo of ‘minor’ absconding criminal on Thane police website

In an apparent violation of Juvenile Justice Act,Thane Police have uploaded a mugshot of a 15-year-old offender on its official website with details of the criminal case against him.

In an apparent violation of Juvenile Justice Act,Thane Police have uploaded a mugshot of a 15-year-old offender on its official website with details of the criminal case against him.

Appearing under the link ‘Absconding Criminals’,the minor —who is an accused in a cheating case registered at the Kopari police station in 2006 — is curiously the only one whose photograph has been uploaded from a list of 48 absconders,the others all being adults.

In revealing the identity of the juvenile offender and specifically mentioning his age,Thane Police are in violation of Juvenile Justice Act prohibiting parting of such information.

Section 21 of Juvenile Justice Act clearly states that no report in any newspaper,magazine,news-sheet or visual media of any inquiry regarding a juvenile in conflict with law shall disclose the name,address or school or any other particulars that could lead to identification of the juvenile,nor shall any picture of any such juvenile be published.

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The one who reveals the identity is liable to a fine extending up to Rs 1,000.

“The law clearly states no minor,either in conflict with law or who is in need of care and protection,can be identified. The law is formulated for the minor’s security. The public display is defeating the purpose of the clause under the law,” said advocate Rebecca Gonsalves,who deals with human rights issues.

While there is no clarity on when the minor’s photograph and criminal details were uploaded,Kopari police,with whom the complaint against him was registered,say they have nothing to do with such information finding its way to the site.

“We send details to the Crime Branch. Information gets uploaded from there. How the particulars of a minor have been uploaded can be best answered by Crime Branch officials,” said N H Hatkar,senior inspector of Kopari police station.

While the commissioner of Thane Police K P Raghuvanshi claimed he was unaware of the gaffe,Additional Commissioner of Police of the Thane Crime Branch Milind Bharambe claimed that the age of the offender stated on the website was inaccurate.

“After the matter was brought to our attention,we made the Kopari police check records. The age of the accused mentioned below the photograph is wrong. Records reveal that he was actually 19 years of age when the offence was registered. We will make the necessary change.”

However,the photograph uploaded on the website is clearly that of a minor in his early teens. When asked about this discrepancy,Bharambe claimed,“There was only an old photograph of the accused available,which was used.”