Children lodged in Tihar Jail: Delhi HC directs National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to survey Delhi jails
Juvenile Justice Act of India puts an absolute prohibition on incarcerating children into jails. Despite this statutory prohibition, the national practice runs contrary. Jails across the country incarcerate children routinely. Police routinely presents children as adults in Courts and cause them to be incarcerated into jails. Recently Hon ble Delhi High Court was presented evidence that even the reputed Tihar Jail of the capital City of India had atleast 114 children incarcerated during 2010-11. Such evidence was procured by "HAQ: Centre for Child Rights" through right to information application and was presented to Hon'ble Acting Chief Justice A. K. Sikri of Delhi High Court by way of a letter petition. Recognizing the gravity of violations, letter petition has admitted as Writ Petition 8889 of 2011 and Delhi Government, Commissioner of Delhi Police and Tihar Jail Administration were directed to respond to the Petition. During course of proceedings, when authorities failed to give any response, Hon'ble Delhi High Court directed National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to conduct a survey of all the jails in Delhi in order to find out as to how many among the prison population in Delhi Jails are children and thus would have been entitled to the benefits of the Juvenile Justice Act. Such findings of the survey will be presented to the High Court. High Court has also allowed the letter petitioner to present a set of guidelines to stop the practice of incarceration children into jails and subjecting them to the hardships of criminal justice administration system.