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Case Studies

Z1 a 16-year-old girl was apprehended for theft. The observation home staff and other girls in the institution alleged that the girl created disturbance in the home by bullying, abusing the girls and sometimes even the caretakers. Since none of the family members of Z1 were appearing before the JJB. The girl’s records did not have her contact details and so the JJB decided to send the girl to a Special home. On exploring for Special homes it was found that the Special Home at Pune was not for the JCL girls and that the only Special Home at Mundhava Pune had been closed and hence was non-functional. Thus the girl could be sent to Deonar Special home meant for rescued minor girls. The JJB took a decision to send the girl to Adwait foundation at Thane, which is a missionary institution for rescued girls. At Adwait foundation, Z1 continued bullying and abusing other girls and staff of the institution. Adwait foundation felt that Z1 may influence other girls and disrupt the peace at the institution and since they did not have staff to deal with JCLs, the girl was sent back to Bhivandi Observation Home. After Z1 came back to Bhivandi home, the JJB referred the case to RCJJ. Cases which are complicated have been invariably been allocated to RCJJ. These till date had meant cases which the probation officer/police or JJB members find difficult to follow up and the delay makes the case get further complicated.

Since Z1’s behaviour had snubbed everybody including the JJB, Probation Officer, caretakers and other girls in the institution they were against her. RCJJ with much patience started building rapport with the girl and managed to get her home details. The details she shared were insufficient to undertake a home visit. RCJJ, took the challenge to locate the home with this insufficient information. After a month of constant follow-up RCJJ managed to locate the home and met her elder sister and father. RCJJ made Z1 talk to her sister on phone. This was a turning point which led Z1 to trust RCJJ and she began to share more and more information about her past. She shared with the RCJJ social worker about her love affairs, her friends and that even had a miscarriage twice. Her narrations about her past experiences were not sequential and would never give a complete picture. Her family members shared that she was shy and used to sit quietly for hours together and often run away from home at odd hours, stay out for couple of days and return by herself or would be found by a family member. She was addicted to various substances. She along with her friends mostly boys and many of them elder to her would indulge in pick-pocketing on the central railway line and also steal money and things from shops and homes of known people. This information along with her family details was shared with the JJB and the Probation officer. RCJJ suggested a psychiatric evaluation of the girl at the earliest. This was initially rejected but later when the girl attacked the caretaker when she reprimanded her; the PO of the institution was convinced that the girl required immediate attention in terms of her mental health.

Regular interaction with the girl and assurance of family visits her after her elder sister’s delivery calmed Z1 which helped in building a strong rapport with RCJJ personnel. As a result, she was willing to start a new life. Seeing this transformation, the JJB has decided to transfer the girl to the Deonar Special Home, Mumbai. RCJJ continues to intervene with the girl even after her transfer. RCJJ’s focus of intervention was mainly targeted towards mental health assessment and treatment along with convincing her family to take her back or at least come to meet her regularly.

Challenges in rehabilitation

A1 is a 16 year old boy. After finishing his ninth standard dropped out of studies, and with no productive engagement he got into stealing. When he stole his own sister's gold chain, his mother handed him over to the Police. The boy was transferred to the CH/OH at Bhiwandi. RCJJ came in contact with him. Interactions with the boy revealed that he was addicted to Ganja and Charas since the past one year. Prior to that, he had been consuming beer and smoking cigarettes for six years. After visiting his home it was found that, the relationship between his mother and father were not good. Interactions with his mother revealed that she was not aware of his addictions. RCJJ personnel made her aware of A1’s addictions and convinced her to take back her case against him. RCJJ facilitated this process between A1's mother and JJB. JJB released A1 and ordered the mother to get him treated for his addictions and psychiatric issues. With the help of RCJJ, A1 started treatment at Thane Mental Health Institute. The treatment had side effects such as violent withdrawls which the mother was not ready to handle. As a result, the mother panicked so the RCJJ Social worker would be in constant touch with her over the phone from 12.00 am to 5.00am. Despite this, the mother was so agitated that she got A1 released from the hospital and admitted him in a private hospital. In two days when the bills started going up, the private hospital discharged A1 due to non-payment of bills. RCJJ social worker took A1 to Thane Civil Hospital. However since there was no facility for psychiatric treatment he was taken to Indian Psychological Institute (IPH) Thane. Currently A1 is undergoing treatment and both he and his mother are being counselled for not losing hope.

Protection of JCL from booking under Chapter Case

A boy named XXXX currently 18 years but was 17 years at the time of offence. He was apprehended under IPC sections- 302, 201, and 34 at Yavatmal. Police alleged he had murdered his father. JJB Yavatmal referred his case to RCJJ for counselling and made an order for his Social Investigation Report (SIR) to be prepared by RCJJ. The SIR prepared by RCJJ revealed that his father was an alcoholic and was in the habit of abusing the juvenile’s mother SIR revealed that on the day, the juvenile got into a fight with his father who was drunk at the time. During the fight when XXXX pushed his father, he fell and died on the spot. . The grandparents of the juveniles were sympathetic to the situation and during the interaction with RCJJ sided the juvenile stating that the incident took place in a fit of anger and that they were ready to take the responsibility of XXXX. As a result the grandparents were given the custody of the child by JJB. After release, RCJJ continued to follow up on the case. In one of the group sessions held by RCJJ, the juvenile expressed his interest in pursuing a vocational course. Based on his interest RCJJ encouraged him to take up a computer course on TALLY. However, the everyday struggles of this life forced him to give up the course mid way. Meanwhile the final order of his case passed by the JJB acquitted him of the charges.

The child went back to completing his studies. With the efforts of his grandfather, the boy was able to get a job in his father’s company who appointed him as a fitter there. He had to undergo a training in a proper training institute. The boy began to lead a peaceful and industrious life, shouldering the responsibility of his mother and younger sister. However, soon after, his uncle started showing animosity towards the boy. His uncle got the grandparents to live separately from the boy and his family.

On the event of his father’s 1st death anniversary, the uncle picked up a fight with the boy and lodged a complaint against him and his mother. They were booked under IPC sections 509 and 294. All efforts by the boy to present his side of the story to the police went in vain. As he had not completed 18 years of age, he was treated as a juvenile.

However, the police station as a precaution showed him as absconding and detained him in the police station and filed a chapter case against him. He was then asked to furnish two sureties including a cash surety of Rs. 15000/- to ensure non-involvement in illegal activities and demonstrate good behaviour.

RCJJ Yavatmal filed a request to JJB Yavatmal to issue directives to the police station to remove the Chapter case against him by stating that the boy was in touch with RCJJ and that he was pursuing his studies and working on a part time basis. Based on the report of RCJJ, JJB sent a show cause notice on 12/09/2013 to the police station to present themselves before the board. The police station in-charge tried to overlook the matter. However, JJB strictly pursued the case, and the police had to appear before JJB. The JJB gave them strict instructions to consult their Law officers or Higher Authorities to understand the appropriateness of their actions taken. The police station later filed an application before JJB acknowledging their mistake and stated that they would not charge children with chapter cases in future. The Police also took the initiative of putting a notice in all police stations cautioning officials to henceforth not apprehend juveniles under the section of chapter case.

Illegal detention of children

X1, X2 and X3 Raghuveer, Ranbir and Rajan were released on conditional bail under the supervision of the RCJJ. X1 was working as an unskilled labour with his mother while X3 engaged in the mental health programs, which were being conducted in the Thane Mental Hospital. During this phase, the police apprehended the boys again. The boys were kept in the police station for three days and were beaten up badly. This was a gross violation of Juvenile Justice Act Section 10 which stipulated the Police to place the Juvenile before the Board within 24 Hours and under no circumstance to detain the Juvenile in a Police Lock up or in the Jail. Their parents were neither told the reasons of apprehension nor allowed to meet their children. On the second day of the apprehension, the parents informed RCJJ who tried to talk with the police officers and requested them to allow us to meet the children. The police not only rejected the request but also abused the social worker. The parents of the apprehended children were angry and expressed that they wanted to take proactive action against the police. RCJJ facilitated this process. A complaint was drafted and submitted it to CWC Thane regarding the illegal detention. CWC immediately issued a show cause notice to the police station after which the two children were produced before the CWC as there was no case that could be put upon them. CWC took the matter ahead and sent a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Thane as well as to the Maharashtra State Child Rights Commission. Each authority sent a letter to the police asking for explanation for the illegal detention of the children. Of the two children produced before JJB, one child was immediately released on bail and the other was released after some time. The impact of these actions has cautioned the police stations as these practices seems to have reduced to some extent. RCJJ took up the responsibility of supervising the two boys. However, one fallout of this action was that one of the boy and his mother changed the residence due to fear of Police. RCJJ is trying to get the boy who was working before apprehension to enhance his skills by suggesting him vocational courses. The third boy was so traumatized by the experience that he has given up his studies. RCJJ is counselling him to go back to school. [This case was also reported in Times of India 22nd August 2013 and Mumbai Mirror 4th September 2013].

S1, 16-year-old girl who was staying in the Observation Home for more than 4 months. She was a juvenile in conflict with the law and allegedly for theft. RCJJ social worker came to know that she was earlier sent to her paternal aunt but very soon, the aunt’s husband took her back to the institution. According to him, she was not behaving properly and his wife who was mentally ill did not want her with her around. After some interactions with the girl, it was understood that she had no parents and was staying with her grandparents. Her grandfather was very strict and used to verbally abuse her very often. She was constantly told that her parents died due to HIV and that her character was bad character like her parents. She had an affair with a boy, which her grandfather did not approve of. She was studying in ninth standard. She shared she was good in studies and had scored 70 percent in the eighth standard. However, her grandparents could not afford to pay her school fees. Her grandparents alleged that she stole a gold chain and some cash from home and spent it with friends. According to them, since this used to happen repeatedly, S1 was sent to the institution. S1’s aunt’s husband was the only person who used to come to the institution frequently to meet her and sometimes expressed willingness to take her to his home irrespective of his wife’s opposition. However, the PO of the institution felt that he had some different interest in the girl and since JJB also felt that this may not be in the best interest of the child they decided not to place her in his custody. They took cognisance of the fact that the girl also didn’t want to go with him.

Since the Observation Home does not provide good education and vocational facilities, the RCJJ workers were requested to identify a suitable organisation for her. RCJJ approached many organisations but none of them were willing to admit a “JCL” in their institution. After many efforts, RCJJ identified an organisation in Thane, which was working with the girls in distress and provided residential, education and vocational training services to girls. RCJJ had meetings with the staff of this organisation along with the PO of the Observation home. A visit was paid to the organisation and a report recommending the girl to be sent to the organisation was submitted to JJB. Based on the report, the JJB passed an order for two years stay. This case was seen as a landmark case for Thane JJB, because for the first time, the JJB has declared a voluntary organisation as “fit institution” and passed the order accordingly. Moreover, for the first time a girl was sent to a voluntary organisation for residential and rehabilitative purpose. Presently the girl is under the supervision of RCJJ and doing well in the organisation. We are looking forward for S1 to complete her tenth standard to discuss her future plans. It his heartening to share that the organization has expressed its willingness to support S1 even after 18 years of her age

Help Desk converted into Socio-legal Cell in 3 districts of Mumbai, Pune and Thane: Case study as a Good Practice

The Help Desk functioned as a “May I Help You” centre in 6 districts of Maharashtra. The objective was to spread awareness, provide guidance, assistance and empower juveniles and parents through the system to address their exploitation by private lawyers. RCJJ collaborated with Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) to provide Free legal aid lawyers along with existing 2 social workers sit on the desk in three districts of Maharashtra. It is renamed socio legal cell. It is one of its first kinds in India.

Key activities of Socio-legal cell:
  • Provide socio - legal guidance to children, their parents and other concerned stakeholders.
  • Case-related interventions by home visits, preparation of HIR’s/SIR’s, representing juvenile before the CWC/ JJB/Courts
  • Referral to other agencies for de-addiction and other support services for rehabilitation
  • Facilitation for Bail, Supervision and Legal Aid
District Inaugural date Referral to SLC Social guidance Bail Final Order Ongoing
Mumbai 4th Nov 2015 36 12 13 7 4
Pune Pune 8th Dec 2015 23 12 10 1 0
Thane Thane 8th Feb 2016 30 15 05 4 6
Total Inaugural date 89 39 28 12 10

Key Outcomes:

  • JJB and RCJJ is directly referring cases to free legal aid lawyers.
  • Establishment of SLC has brought down the exploitation of parents by private lawyers to a large extent.
  • Helped to break the nexus between police and private lawyers to some extent.
  • The State has taken the ownership to provide legal aid to children in the JJ System.
  • Some of the lawyers are also taking sessions with children on free legal aid in Observation Home and taking interest in the rehabilitation of the child.
  • Law college students doing internship with RCJJ are also assisting the lawyers in this process.

Within a short period, it has provided help in 89 cases. Partners in the Process The Resource Cell of Juvenile Justice (RCJJ), Department of Justice (Ministry of Law and Justice) Government of India (GOI), Department of Women and Child Development, Maharashtra, Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MHLSA), Railway Children and Tata Trusts.
This was selected and presented as a ‘Best Practice’ on Rehabilitation of Children in the State in the at the Second Western Regional Round Table Consultation on Strengthening Restoration and Rehabilitation of Children under the Juvenile Justice System organized by the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, Bombay High Court Juvenile Justice Committee and Maharashtra Judicial Academy, Uttan in Mumbai on 12-13 March, 2016.