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

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”