“SHAKTI” – Action Program for Implementation of Juvenile Justice Act in the State

When we consider the socio-economic backdrop influencing the administrative, political and legal nexus of juvenile justice, the regional picture is not encouragingly different from the national scenario. It is definitely aconcern that despite passage of two and half decades of a separate Act meant to deal with juvenile justice, the reality on the ground has not changed much. Our juvenile justice system specifically relating to procedures and practices calls for complete transformation to tackle the retarded pace of judicial processes, sluggish legal interventions and apathetic care at observation homes. While majority children of their age go through a time devoted to fun and creativity, alarmingly some children are busy fighting legal battles and suffering the wrath of inordinate delay. Many of them have no idea where their family is, or towards which destination they are heading, once they are released. Referring to the regional context, it is well ascertained that there are gross deviations to these norms abated by legislative apathy, bureaucratic misdemeanor and judicial retardation at time of actual need. Children who are detained in observation homes are usually from poor families having restricted option of access to education facilities. They have already experienced significant deprivation in their lives and hence when put in the observation home they are in immediate need of care and guidance. Despite the Act, observation homes have not been successful in achieving the objectives for which they have been set up as they still lack adequate and humane facilities for children. There must also be attitudinal transformation while dealing with such children. They must be shown some path towards progress as they are restrained to cope with life outside because of binding rigidity of social order. The rudimentary task of providing education and training to children is to enhance their chances of employability when they are released, and thereby reduce recidivism. However, there has been no demonstrated commitment to this issue by the governmental agencies or the prime actors in the civil society. So the focus is on sensitizing the major functionaries in the administration, judiciary and regulatory bodies to breathe the spirit of time and modify the procedures and removing the bottlenecks. Caught in the midst of rampant red tape, unending bureaucratic indifference are young citizens with traumatic present and future. Analytical exposition of baseline figures reveals that things are not going to alter radically unless a change in attitude at all levels happen at the earliest. “Project Shakti” makes a humble attempt to address the underlying issues influencing the socio-economic-legal and political current of the mainstream.

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