Skip to main content

Treating juvenile criminals as adult? India's 44%, especially poor, born in 2000 weren't registered on birth

By Our Representative
The controversial law Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, which came into force last month, may have paved the way for juveniles between 16 and 18 to be tried as adults for heinous crimes. But an expert data analysis of the Civil Registration System has revealed that just about 56.2 per cent of India’s births were registered in 2000.
This means that it would be virtually impossible to determine the age of 44 per cent of those who may have born around 2000, the analysis points out, adding, it is a “major challenge now will be to establish the age of the juveniles.”
Bringing this to light, a top data analysis site believes, this makes the “disadvantages children” particularly vulnerable – as poor parents, more than the middle and upper class parents, do not bother register.
“As many as 78 per cent of Indian juveniles are from families with annual incomes less than Rs 50,000 per annum, and 53 per cent of juveniles are either illiterate or educated till primary school”, the site points out.
Interestingly, in 2000, the five states with the lowest rates of birth registration were Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Assam and Madhya Pradesh, respectively, and in 2014, MP, Bihar and Rajasthan were among the top five states registering juvenile-crime cases, the site points out.
Human rights activists and a section of advocates believe, the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 was passed under populist pressure, pointing to how the reduction of age for the juveniles from 18 to 16 years is contrary to the conventions signed by Government of India in protecting childhood.
Emphasis, it is suggested, must be made on reformation rather than punishing children by putting them behind bars.

Nirbhaya case

The impossibility to determine age for such a huge population has come even as the
“The December 16, 2012 gang-rape, known as the Nirbhaya case, is an example. Since his birth certificate wasn’t available, the age of the juvenile accused in the rape was taken to be 17 years, 6 months and 12 days by the Juvenile Justice Board, which relied on a certificate provided by a government school in his hometown Badaun, where he studied”, the analysis says.
Interestingly, it is the school’s principal, who had deposed before the Board, had entered June 4, 1995 as the teen’s date of birth”, the site says, adding, the principal was quoted as saying, “On the day he joined, we asked the boy’s father when the child was born, and we were told it was either six or seven years ago”.
The site says, “The teen’s mother wasn’t sure of his age either.” She is quoted as saying that she did “not know his birth date, had “no idea regarding either the day or date of admission.”
In 2001, commenting on India’s poor birth registration rate, UNICEF India, said: “Unregistered children are generally the children of the poor and the excluded. An unregistered child will be a more attractive target for a child trafficker and does not have even the minimal protection that a birth certificate provides against early marriage, child labour, or detention and persecution as an adult.”

Bone-ossification

There are, of course, medical methods to determine age, and one of the most common is the bone-ossification test, which involves X-rays of all major limb bones, including pelvic, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle, thigh and wrist, the site says, though quoting Dr Harsh Mahajan, president of the Indian Radiology Association as saying, the method has its “limitations” and it only gives “the age within a range of two to three years.”
“Permission for the bone-ossification test is also tough to get. For instance, in the Nirbhaya case, the Juvenile Justice Board had denied repeated police requests for the test, since the juvenile’s school mark-sheet mentioned his age”, the site points out.
Even now, the site says, the birth registration rate not 100 per cent. “It has increased from 56.2 per cent in 2000 to 85.6 per cent in 2013, but for those whose births escaped official registries, involvement in crime is likely to be a fraught exercise”, the site underlines.

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.