Charter of Demands
Government Effectively Implement Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 Across Punjab
Legal Awareness Watch Pakistan (LAW) and Marvi Rural Development Organisation (MRDO) having Juvenile Justice Committee of Lahore Bar Association in their fold graciously submitted below eight demands considering their experiences they had gained after executing 26 awareness-raising sessions, and training workshops with the stakeholders across Punjab and Sindh got engaged with 989 individuals/stakeholders i.e., lawyers, prosecutors, policemen, probation officers, journalists, etc.) through those sessions, workshops and newsletter that has been getting issued since January 2021 on juvenile justice. Through the forums/awareness-raising sessions and trainings organized by us most participants raised following issues/demands as emergency to be addressed.
Provided we’re expecting your reply at your earliest to be informed of decisions possibly to be taken in near time to improve implementation of Juvenile Justice System Act 2018 (hereinafter JJSA 2018) in its letters and spirit to rehabilitate as well as aid children in trouble with the law (either convicted or under-trial) across Pakistan particularly in Punjab and Sindh. We believe that the stakeholders consider children in trouble with the law themselves as victims nor criminals or perpetrators at all. In solidarity with all children behind bars, we the senders submit that “Prison is a University of Crime”.
1. Pursuant of Notification No.SO (R&P) 1-18/21 what steps have been taken to make Juvenile Justice System Committee (s) operational across Punjab and Sindh under section 10 of JJSA 2018 for resolution of cases of children found involved in offence (s) of major and/or minor nature through Diversion i.e., alternative to punitive measures?
2. What measures have been taken by the provincial government to introduce funds for providing free legal aid (at the State Expense) to children in trouble with the law having abandoned by their families?
3. It is before us that children who come in conflict with the law are produced in court on physical remand under section 167 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (henceforth CRPC) without informing concerned probation officer or their guardian/relative by the police officer knowingly or unknowingly. Whether any procedure is going to be adopted to provide necessary trainings to policemen to overcome this shortage of communication with the concerned probation officer (s) in cases where a child has been apprehended in infringement of penal law?
4. Under JJSA 2018 child in conflict with the law should be informed about their rights by the police within 24-hours of his arrest. However, in procedure the said provision of law has not been getting effectively implemented across Punjab and Sindh. So, what program has been implemented to assist and facilitate children in trouble with the law for making them informed of their rights particularly during physical remand/custody?
5. JJSA 2018 provides the government may establish observation homes and juvenile rehabilitations centers under JJSA 2018 for juveniles including separate centers for female juveniles. Despite these clear-cut provisions not a single observation home for housingchildren those said to have infringed penal law has been established nor any certified rehabilitation center come into existence across Pakistan for reformation of juvenile offenders. Therefore, inform us what measures and steps are taken by the government to establish observation homes and rehabilitation centers for rehabilitation of juveniles?
What effective strategies’ the government has for probation officers to equip them with latest approaches for rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law either (discharged or sentenced to incarceration)?
That when will the government opting to make rules for a carrying out the purpose of this Act (written in the preamble i.e., social reintegration)?
Apart from above all, we’ve also submitted following brief demands that ought to be followed immediately:
i. No child in custody of police should be handcuffed while moving from one place to another: see section 6 of JJSA 2018.
ii. From the very first day of arrest of a child he/her should not be kept in police station during the physical remand under section 167 CRPC 1898: see sections 2 (k) of JJSA 2018.
iii. The preamble of JJSA 2018 reads that it is to provide a criminal justice system for juveniles, it implies that juveniles in trouble with the law while in custody of the police in the police stations or in prison (barracks) should not be mixed with adult prisoners or convicts ensuring they should not become desperate nor violent.
iv. Most importantly, a person who appears to be a child when apprehended his/her an inquiry by the investigation officer/officer in charge of the police station to be conducted --owing to inadequate age determination procedures many children have been behind bars those facing severe punishment. Without adopting age determination procedure scientifically system of JJSA 2018 could not be set into motion meaning under eighteen individuals would face criminal charges under substantive criminal law of Pakistan leaving them vulnerable.