In J&K, juvenile age is 16 yrs, but minors booked under PSA also


There may be a growing clamour around the country to lower the legally defined age of juveniles to 16 years from 18 years under the Centre's Juvenile Justice Act, but in Jammu and Kashmir, this age has been set at 16 years under the state's Juvenile Justice Act, 1997.

And even as efforts to bring the state's Act at par with the Centre's Act have failed, minors have been booked under the draconian Public Safety Act and imprisoned with adults in the state.

Although the Centre enacted the Juvenile Justice Act in 1986, successive regimes in J&K delayed adopting it until 1996. The law was passed in 1997, but it took another 10 years for the J&K government to bring in rules for its implementation.

The Centre, meanwhile, repealed the 1986 law and enacted the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act in 2000 to bring its law in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Subsequently, the Centre further amended this law twice.

"We have been planning to bring an amendment to the law,'' J&K social welfare minister Sakina Itoo told The Sunday Express. But the state government's record has been abysmal, and even the current archaic juvenile Act has been consistently violated.

In fact, two separate PILs were filed in the J&K High Court asking the court to ensure that the government implements the J&K Juvenile Justice Act, 1997 at least.

On June 18, 2010, a division bench of the High Court observed that "even though the Act was passed in 1997 and its rules were framed in 2007, the provisions of the Act and the rules have not been implemented'' and directed the J&K government to implement it in three months.

Consider some instances of minors being arrested under serious provisions:

... contd.

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