National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): NHRC on May 11, has based on a media report, taken suo moto cognizance of the arrest and incarceration of two minor girls, aged 12 and 16 years. These girls, along with 7 other family members, some of whom are minors, were arrested from their home in Muzaffarnagar, UP in December 2017 on allegations of cow slaughter and attempt to murder. Though bail was granted against the latter charge, the lower court did not grant bail for alleged cow slaughter. They were finally released in April after spending over 3 months in prison.
The Commission observed that this arrest and incarceration on the basis of the girls’ physical appearance looking like that of an adult to the arresting officers, and the disregarding of documentary evidence in the form of Aadhaar cards which clearly showed that they were minors was a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act, which requires minors be sent to juvenile homes and produced before special Juvenile Boards. The girls, however, were produced before a regular court as adults. Section 10 of the JJ Act reads:
“10. Apprehension of child alleged to be in conflict with law.
1. As soon as a child alleged to be in conflict with law is apprehended by the police, such child shall be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated child welfare police officer, who shall produce the child before the Board without any loss of time but within a period of twenty-four hours of apprehending the child excluding the time necessary for the journey, from the place where such child was apprehended:
Provided that in no case, a child alleged to be in conflict with law shall be placed in a police lockup or lodged in a jail.”
The Commission said that if proved, this shall be a “gross violation of Human Rights”, and therefore issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and DGP of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and asked them to submit a report within 4 weeks.
National Human Rights Commission