Gurgaon Police in collaboration with Shakti Vahini and CHILDLINE(1098) organised a one day meeting to provide a platform for the Juvenile Welfare Officers to have a open discussion on the working of the Juvenile Justice Act with various stakeholders. The program was attended by 60 police personnel’s and stakeholders associated with J.JAct. The meeting was chaired by Joint Commissioner of Police , Gurgaon Police . National level Resource person Shri Raj Mangal Prasad- Chairperson Child Welfare Committee Lajpat Nagar, Ms Bharti Sharma and Ravi Kant , Advocate Supreme Court of India addressed the Juvenile Welfare Officers in the meeting.
Shri Anil Kumar Rao, Joint Commissioner of Police said that the Gurgaon Police have now designated Special Juvenile Police Unit constituting a Juvenile Police Officer and a women constable in each Police Station. He said that the task of the Juvenile Police Unit will have the following function:
a. The Special Juvenile Police Unit and Child Welfare Officer at the police station will handle cases of both juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care of protection and the social worker at the Special Juvenile Police Unit shall be the first line of intervention in all cases, as far as possible.
b. The Special Juvenile Police Unit shall coordinate and function as a watch-dog for providing legal protection against all kinds of cruelty, abuse and exploitation of children and report instances of non-compliance for further legal action.
c. The Special Juvenile Police Unit shall take serious cognizance of adult perpetrators of crimes against children and ensure that they are apprehended immediately and booked under the appropriate provisions of the law.
d. The Special Juvenile Police Unit shall ensure the registering, linking and monitoring of information regarding missing children received at the police station, and shall investigate immediately.
e. The Special Juvenile Police Units shall work with voluntary organisations, local governing bodies, community based organisations in identifying juveniles in conflict with law as well as reporting cases of violence against children, child neglect, child abuse and exploitation.
f. The Special Juvenile Police Unit shall maintain a list of NGOs/voluntary organisations in their respective jurisdiction, and shall monitor the activities to prevent all crimes against children specifically trafficking, illegal adoption and detention of children.
g. The Special Juvenile Police Unit to establish & maintain contacts with experts from various fields with the right credentials for their assistance/cooperation in child related matters, as and when required.
Shri Anil Kumar Rao , Joint Commissioner of Police said that the underlying philosophy of the Juvenile Justice System is to ensure that all children, be they in conflict with law or in need of care and protection, are provided with nurturing environment, one that is sensitive to their needs and requirements, offers scope for reformation as required and for overall development. It is therefore, imperative that the police who are invariably the first contact have an approach that is child friendly and caring.
Mr. Ravi Kant, Advocate Supreme Court of India took session on Juvenile Justice Act, Child Labour Act and Bonded Labour Act. Mr. Kant appealed that all the government officials should know that Child Trafficking for Labour is an organised crime, so it is extremely important for all of us to join hands in order to curb this crime. The need of strengthening of the restoration and repatriation of the victims was stressed. The impact of low sex ratio in Haryana which leads to child trafficking also dwelt at length. He also informed the Juvenile Police Officer said that certain do and dont are prescribed which are :
- Ensure that the juvenile/child is provided with:
- Emergency medical care
- Access to toilet
- Access to phone
- Talk to the child in a caring and friendly manner, avoiding derogatory, incriminating and abusive language.
- Ensure that the environment is conducive for helping the child to talk freely.
- Child/juvenile should be escorted to OH/FI/JJB/CWC by police officer in civil dress preferably and the officer should carry proof of his/her identity/CJWO designated.
- Ensure that women police personnel are present when a girl child is taken into custody or escorted.
- Ensure privacy, dignity and respect when children are brought to the police station/come in contact and subjected them to a search. Only women police must conduct body search of girl children with decency.
- Ensure that all children brought to the police station are sent to a safe and secure place as per the JJA.
- In the event of interviewing a child witness, ensure that the investigating officer goes to the house of the child and does not ask the child to come to the police station.
- As far as possible police officer should not be in uniform when talking to the child/juvenile.
- When CWC/JJB is not sitting, the child should be housed in a Children’s Home/Fit Institution/Observation Home.
- A Child/juvenile should not be taken into police custody or kept in the police station between sunset and sunrise.
- When a juvenile is taken into custody for any alleged offence CJWO to ensure that the juvenile is not beaten/abused/ill-treated.
- Do not coerce a child to give statement/confession as this will not be valid at the JJB.
- For children in conflict with law ensure that no dossiers are prepared or fingerprints taken.
- Do not publish names and photographs of children in print or visual media.
- When children are released on bail they should not be asked to report and sign at the police station.
- In the case of children taken into custody for serious offence,
- Inform the juvenile/parent/guardian their right to legal aid but do not make any reference to a private lawyer.
- If juvenile is not released on bail, he/she should be sent to the Observation Home (OH).
- If JJB is not sitting, juvenile should be housed in OH.
- Offences committed by a juvenile should not be held against him/her when apprehended for offences committed as an adult.
Ms Bharati Sharma discussed about trafficking of women and children. She stated that Law Enforcement Agencies should know about issues connected to trafficking of women and children . It is an organised crime so it is extremely important for all of us to join hands in order to curb this crime. She also talked about the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act. Dept Of Social Welfare has initiated many activities for the emotional and economic upliftment of the victims .She stated on the fact that the main job of Social Welfare Dept is to work for the welfare of the victims. She highlighted the need of strengthening of the restoration and repatriation of the victims. She also said that “ Child Welfare Committee should be constituted as per the new Model rules of 2009. The police along with all stakeholders should ensure convergence and cooperation so that the best interests of children are protected. She spoke about the role of Child Welfare Committee and also requested the police to work in collaboration with Child Protection Unit in Gurgaon.”
Shri Raj Mangal Prasad Chairperson CWC, Lajpat Nagar requested the police personnels to write a detailed case study of the victim before producing them to the concerned CWC. He also asked them to get a detailed medical check up of the victims. He also requested the police personnels to be extra careful and sensitive while dealing with issues pertaining to children.
The DCP (HQ) Shri Praveen Kumar Mehta said “There is an urgent need of sensitization of Police forces on the issue of Child Rights and Juvenile Justice Act. He said that Childline in collaboration with Child Protection Unit should prepare a Booklet on the various facets of Juvenile Justice Act.”
Mrs. Jyoti Dhuan, the District Child Protection Officer said that the Child Protection Unit was operational in Gurgaon and has been working in close collaboration with CHILDLINE. She said that the Child Protection Unit objectives include assessing the number of children in difficult circumstances and create district-specific databases to monitor trends and patterns of children in difficult circumstances. Map all child related service providers and services at district for creating a resource directory. Ensure effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and its Amendment Act, 2006 at district/city levels by supporting creation of adequate infrastructure, viz. setting up JJBs, CWCs, and SJPUs in each district and homes in a cluster of districts as required.
Police personnel’s present there discussed the challenges faced by them while they deal with cases pertaining to children. Gurgaon Police also released the list of Juvenile Police Officers in different Police Stations.