THE JUVENILE Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday told the Supreme Court that 144 juveniles aged between 9 years and 17 years and in conflict with the law were arrested — mostly preventive detentions — in the state since August 5 when the Centre revoked the special status granted to it under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Of these, 142 had already been released and only two were still in juvenile homes, the report said, citing information provided by the police and other state agencies.
Hearing a petition by Child Rights Activist Enakshi Ganguly and Santha Sinha, the Supreme Court had asked the J&K High Court’s JJ Committee to look into the allegations that children were being illegally detained, and submit a report.
Following this, the committee chaired by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey sought reports from state agencies as well as subordinate courts. The state DGP’s report to the committee denied the charges of illegal detention of any child. It said “no child has been kept or taken into illegal detention by the Police authorities as strict adherence is placed on the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.”
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The JJ Committee also told the Supreme Court it had not got any petition on alleged detention of any juvenile but added there were some Habeas Corpus petitions in the High Court in which the detainees were said to be children.
In his report, the DGP said the state has appointed an officer of the rank of ADGP as nodal officer for implementation of the Act.
“At District level, an officer has been nominated for the purpose and it has been ensured that at every police station level, a juvenile police officer has been designated. As and when any report in respect of a juvenile in conflict with law is received, the said juvenile is dealt strictly as per the prescribed law on the subject,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the J&K government last week revoked the detention order and released one of the four minors arrested under the Public Safety Act. The boy was held in a jail in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, for seven weeks. The state’s decision came after his family challenged the detention in the J&K High Court. The court had asked the Anantnag District to look into the age of minor.
The family members of the minor – who is now home – said they produced the certificates and date of birth proof of the minor in the J&K High Court. “On September 25, we received the order from the government informing that the PSA has been revoked,” the uncle of the minor boy told The Indian Express.
The ‘grounds of detention’ order signed on August 8 by the District Magistrate, Anantnag, had claimed that the age of the boy was “22 years” and that he was affiliated with an “over ground worker” of “JeM”.