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

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.