The Delhi High Court has asked the Women and Child Development department of city government to respond to a PIL alleging that no steps have been taken to protect juveniles who are allegedly being trapped and used by criminal gangs here.
"You (Women and Child Development department) file the reply to the petition," a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said and posted the matter for further hearing on April 3.
The court, which had earlier issued notice to Delhi police, was hearing a PIL filed by Anant K
Asthana, a lawyer.
The PIL alleged city police have not been taking steps, as mandated under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, to protect delinquent minors who are being trapped and used by adult hardcore criminals for committing offences.
"State Child Protection Unit and District Child Protection Units which are mandated to be created under the JJ Act are the bodies which are primarily responsible for identification of children who are at risk and for making preventive programmes in order to reach out to children in order to take them in the safety net of State.
"Ironically, State Child Protection Unit in Delhi remains merely as a paper tiger till date and no District Child Protection Units have been created, despite the fact that adequate finances are now available...," it said.
The plea also said the Juvenile Justice Board, in 2011, had issued guidelines for investigation for offences in which minors were used by adult criminals. The police was asked to go after the adult criminals to save juveniles.
However, most of the times, police prefer not to lodge FIRs in cases where minors are caught red handed as they will have to arrest the adult criminals, it said.
The PIL has sought a direction to city police to implement the guidelines of the JJB on probe in cases where minors are used.
"Pass an order, issuing a direction to Delhi police to make all the Juvenile Welfare Officers exclusive and henceforth, to not assign any additional duty/ responsibility on them in order to enable them to focus on children issues," it said.
It also sought creation of "posts for two social workers" in each District Level Special Juvenile Police here.
"Pass an order, issuing a direction to Delhi police to dissolve Special Police Unit for Women and Children
(SPUWC) and to establish a separate and exclusive Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) at State and District levels...," it said.
The PIL alleged there was a significant rise in children committing thefts of mobile phones, valuable articles and laptops from the cars by diverting attention of passengers here and usually, FIRs are not lodged to avoid the probe and subsequent arrest of their adult handlers.
HC Seeks WCD Ministry's Response on PIL on Juveniles
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