Resource Cell for Juvenile Justice

Activities

Research Study:
In 2008-2009 a research was carried out with a purpose of understanding the current situation of the system better. Special permission was taken by High Court for this research. High court played an important role in implementation of recommendation. There were around 3500 cases pending of JJB board in thane district only. High court recommended to JJB sitting to be increased from two days a week to five days a week. This brought down the number of cases drastically. Many of the recommendation has been successfully implemented in Maharashtra state. Research study has been also done at Delhi state and recommendations are being implemented in step process. The children / juveniles that R.C.J.J works with are either identified by R.C.J.J personnel or are referred by functionaries within the J.J.Ss comprising of JJB, CWC, police, superintendent, caretakers, lawyers and other concerned personnel In many cases, the parents or children directly approach R.C.J.J for help.- Direct work with children involves providing:

  • Legal guidance & assistance
  • Home visits
  • Preparation of HIR’s / SIR’s
  • Home tracing & repatriation
  • Strengthening bonds between the family by facilitating meeting of children with their parents who are in the community or lodged in the prisons
  • Assistance in financial assistance in vocational and educational guidance
  • Representing children / juvenile before the concerned authorities like CWC/JJB/ adult courts
  • Referral to other agencies
  1. Help Desk
    With due permission from Bombay H.C, Help Desk’s were set up within the OH premises at  Thane and Yavatmal. The objective of help desk is to provide information and guidance to the parents, children and assist functionaries to operationalise the child protection tenets of J.J.S. The working days of help desk are synchronised with the sittings days of the JJB. Thus, Help desk functions on Thursday & Friday in Thane and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Yavatmal.

    1. Standardised formats :
      Help Desk has prepared standardized formats free of cost for simple procedure like filing applications for bail, leave of absence, speedier disposal of cases etc. These formats were evolved based on the repeated requests from the parents/guardians of the children for these procedures. Thus to facilitate parent’s access and understanding of the system formats with the required language were evolved. It was seen that through this initiative parents who were charged by lawyers between Rs. 100/- to 500/- or more, to type a simple letter were relived of this uncalled expense.

    2. Representing children before the JJB :
      The R.C.J.J personnel found that there were various reasons, which lead to delay in the hearing of cases of juveniles. One of the predominant reasons was parents/guardians inhibition to approach the JJB. There are certain situations where due to pressing circumstances R.C.J.J. represents the child directly before the JJB.

      Some of them are:-
      1. Facilitation of bail and final orders
      2. Identifying cases and presenting them before JJB
      3. Atrocities against children
  2. Supervision of children as per section 15 (3) of JJA
    The JJB by passing orders under Section 15 (3) of JJA has entrusted R.C.J.J personnel with supervision of a few cases of juveniles for the purpose of their rehabilitation and follow up. Orders passed under this section are being averred to as ‘good practice’ as very few JJB’s in the state or anywhere in India pass orders using this section.

  3. Facilitating speedy disposal of cases
    Work with children in the home brings forth pending cases of juveniles, for many reasons such as lack of follow up, lack of coordination between various systems responsible for the protection of the child. Most common delays are due to the failure of the police station to submit the final report (also known as charge sheet), lack of coordination between the JJB and CWC.

  4. Guidance and assistance
    Involves instituting a robust referral services for children for special education, vocational training, re-enrolment of children in schools and job opportunities.

R.C.J.J has been facilitating/conducting group activities with the objective of enabling children to form bonds with peers so that they can discuss their feelings and ideas openly. Also as children in institutions are not provided with adequate child-specific activities, some group activities are conducted by R.C.J.J a few of which are illustrated below:
1) Celebration of festivals
2) Drawing and craft sessions
3) Interactive educative sessions
4) A session for children and parents of JCL

Networking
R.C.J.J has been facilitating the J.J.S to provide an integrated framework for children’s services amongst the range of structures and delivery systems over the years. Thus, R.C.J.J actively networks with all the systems involved in the delivery of J.J.S and attempts to develop informed collaborative interventions for JCL’s.

Training, Sensitization and Awareness Programme:
Working with the various systems of J.J.S, R.C.J.J has realised that various individuals working in the system also face difficulties while working with children. Some officers/staff who know the philosophy of child rights and believe in it, are flummoxed on how to work in the best interest of the child and implement the law impartially. Some are well versed with the law but hold contradictory views on child rights. Unfortunately, some for different reasons such as deputation etc. are neither aware of child rights or the law. Thus training and sensitizing the personnel from the fields of judiciary, police, social work, government officials is a central focus of R.C.J.J. It would be evident that no one group is homogeneous and thus each session is a challenging task as care is taken to evolve training relevant to the audience and emphasis on networking is given in each session. Thus, topics included in training and sensitisation programme are child rights and juvenile justice, roles and responsibility of personnel working with children and their skill enhancement. Because of the training / sensitization programmes, personnel’s contact R.C.J.J regularly to clarify queries related to handling of children in the JJS.

Some of the programmes organised by R.C.J.J are:

  • State Level Consultation on After Care for Children & Youth In Maharashtra was held on 13th August, 2012 in collaboration with W&CD. The consultation had representatives from W& CD department, including Superintendent of Children’s/OH and After care Homes, Probation Officers, Social Welfare officers, representatives from NGO’s, representatives of CSR initiatives of Godrej, Tata Motors and Kotak Mahindra. The objective of the consultation was to review: the aftercare scheme of Maharashtra, difficulties faced by children once they are released from After Care homes, reasons for absence of suitable vocational courses offered in After care homes. It also aimed to connect CSR training initiatives with after care homes.

  • R.C.J.J conducts regular sessions on child rights for Judges and Magistrates not only in Thane and Yavatmal, but also in Akola, Nagpur and Nashik. These sessions have resulted in JJBs of these districts involving R.C.J.J in critical cases for passing suitable final orders and for suggesting appropriate rehabilitation options. Workshop on Children & Prison was conducted in collaboration with MSLSA for six districts of Maharashtra in the month of November, December & January. These workshops elicited participation from 557 personnel across different cadres of the judiciary.

Other Task undertaken is:
Documentation: Documentation and dissemination in R.C.J.J concentrates on developing material for use by front line JJS functionaries such as the police constables, caretaker of the homes etc. The rationale for this decision is that while many manuals have been developed not many are available for people directly interfacing with children. These are developed, tested in the field and then finalised for printing and dissemination.

Advocacy : R.C.J.J has actively advocated with the HC and through their interest and intervention, a few significant developments in the area of JJS were achieved. The HC on learning from RCJJ that the JJB’s across the state were not constituted appropriately and the majority of social workers had a law background ordered the same to be rectified. As a result, constitution of JJB’s with two Social Workers and One Magistrate ensued across the state. The state ensured that social workers were appointed as per the JJA and Rules. This was further followed up with a request that State level training be conducted by the State Judicial Academy. As a result, training on Juvenile Justice is a part of the curriculum for all magistrates at the Maharashtra Judicial Academy located at Uttan.