New Delhi, Sept. 27: Delhi High Court has directed the city police to adhere to juvenile justice board guidelines to probe the role of adults directing or influencing children to commit offences before filing an investigation report in such cases.
The court today said reports flouting the 2011 guidelines would not be entertained by juvenile boards, while hearing a petition claiming underprivileged juveniles often committed crimes at the behest of adult perpetrators. The PIL was filed by advocate Anant Asthana.
“In this petition filed in public interest, the petitioner has highlighted the issue of children being used by gangs in committing crimes. While these children, whenever they are caught, are dealt under the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, the main perpetrators who are influencing these children to commit the crime are not traced and caught. Because of this reason, the menace continues,” the court said.
The court made it clear that investigation reports would not be accepted if they did not include a) documents on steps taken against adult perpetrators; b) a detailed assessment report of the circumstances in which the juvenile was found; c) the role and responsibility of parents/guardians; d) a detailed verification report of the parents’ residence and profession; e) a note on the possibility of the child being misused by a gang or group of people and steps taken against such individuals.
“Children on the streets are anyway vulnerable, and they are further victimised by gangs for petty crimes. If the guidelines are followed, then the protection clause of the Juvenile Justice Act would be truly followed,” said child rights activist Kailash Satyathri.
“The intervention of the police in case of a juvenile offender should not end with his apprehension because, in most such cases, there is a network of adults running the show. Children are forced by them to do petty crimes, and they go scot-free because cops don’t investigate them.”
Elaborating on the juvenile justice board guidelines, the court emphasised that in cases where a juvenile was booked for theft, the involvement of adult associates should be specifically investigated, as also the roles of parents/guardians.
If, at any point in an investigation, sleuths found similarities in modus operandi with other cases or involvement of similar adult gangs, senior officials should be intimated immediately, the court said. It could then be reviewed if the adult accused could be charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999.