Delhi policemen apprehensive while dealing with juveniles

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS): All the Delhi policemen designated as Juvenile Welfare Officers (JWOs) at every police station in the capital are apprehensive while handling cases of juveniles who are in conflict with law.

At least 362 sub-inspectors of Delhi Police, deputed in over 181 police stations as JWOs, have to face the heat of judiciary while apprehending juveniles.

Every Delhi police station has two sub-inspector rank officers designated as JWOs.

The Delhi Police adopted the move following the Supreme Court's 2011 directive to Director-Generals of Police of all states and Union Territories to ensure at least one police officer in every police station is designated as a JWO to deal with children in conflict with law.

But, most JWOs live in fear because they have seen officers like them who deal in juvenile cases being suspended and facing inquiry orders.

Magistrates issue the orders against the JWOs following misconduct blame levelled by juveniles against them.

A distraught Delhi Police sub-inspector working as a JWO at Jahangirpuri police station, but not willing to be named, told IANS: "I have a fear psychosis while dealing with juvenile cases. The magistrate never accepts police theory. He only believes the statement of juveniles without any proper inquiry."

"I had to face judicial inquiry after a juvenile told a magistrate I had beaten him up in police custody. I was suspended during the inquiry period," he said.

Manoj Pant, Station House Officer (SHO) at Gandhi Nagar police station of east Delhi, told IANS a magistrate suspended him after a group of juveniles, involved in several burglary cases, accused him of beating them in police custody.

"As I know advocates and other officials, I somehow managed to prove myself innocent. But, survival of most JWOs is at stake, as juveniles frame allegations against them," said Pant.

JWOs also need to take precautionary measures.

According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Children) Rules 2007, the designated JWO of the nearest police station is asked to take charge once a juvenile is apprehended. The officer shall then produce the child before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) within 24 hours.

The JWO shall intimate the parent or guardian, collect his socio-economic background and report the matter to the JJB.

It is also necessary to produce the juvenile before the Child Welfare Committee.


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