Allahabad HC seeks govt’s response on alleged police torture of Juveniles
The HC noted that the State should inform the court about the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act
The Allahabad High Court has ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to file an affidavit in response to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed alleging illegal detention and torture of juveniles during the anti CAA protests. (Haq Centre For Child Rights vs State of U.P. and Another- Crl. W. PIL No. 26 of 2020)
The petitioner NGO was represented by advocates Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee and Tanmay Sadh. The respondent State was represented by a Government Advocate.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma has directed the Government to file a detailed response taken by it regarding statutory compliances with the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 (JJ Act) in all the districts of Uttar Pradesh.
“We deem it appropriate to have a response from the State of U.P. The State is supposed to file all details relating to each and every district of the State of Uttar Pradesh with regard to the application of the provisions of the Act, 2015”, said the Bench.
The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO namely, HAQ Centre for Child Rights, on the basis of a fact-finding report prepared by them alleging that in the process of preventing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), many minors were detained and tortured by the police in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The report titled “Brutalizing Innocence-Detention, Torture and Criminalization of Minors by UP police to quell anti – CAA protests” was first published on January 31, 2020. It states, “The severity of police action in Uttar Pradesh is most visible in the abuse of children. Despite national and international legislations, and the respect accorded to jus cogens norms even in times of war, close to 41 minors have been detained and subjected to custodial torture, criminalisation and post custodial coercion in UP.”
Bar and Bench reported further that the plea added, “The report shows that the abuse of minors is spread across two primary districts of Muzaffarnagar (14 minors) and Bijnor (22 minors), both of which have more than 40% Muslim population and a high concentration of national minority institutions where children from across the country are studying.”
The plea has alleged that the actions of the UP police is in grave breach of the JJ Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment and the Constitutional rights guaranteed to children under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21.
It was prayed by the NGO petitioner that the Principal Magistrate and a member of the Juvenile Justice Board(s) be directed to undertake weekly or regular jail visits to ensure that no child is incarcerated in adult jails, in terms of Section 8(3)(m) of the JJ Act, 2015, and file a consolidated monthly report of such visits with the Juvenile Justice Committee of the High Court.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice had orally remarked that perhaps there is a need to set up a Committee to monitor the implementation of the JJ Act. The matter is set to be taken up on December 14, 2020.