As a part of our initial research, for the better understanding of Juvenile Justice System ( JJS ), we conducted a series of visits to understand the different elements of the system. It gave a realistic insight in the operation of the system at various levels and what role each one majorly plays.
Meeting with Ms Panna Momaya, IPS
One of our earliest visits, it gave us clarity with respect to terminologies used in the field. She specifically started out by mentioning the basic working of the system according to the Juvenile Justice Act ( JJ Act ). As we moved ahead with the discussion, it answered a lot of our questions we had with respect to our secondary research. There’s a lot of difference between how a system works on paper and on ground and some of these examples and reasons for it came up in the discussion. Apart from understanding of the point to point working of the system according to the JJ Act, we got to look into a humane perspective of the whole topic, small things like emotional involvement along the officers’ side and small activities conducted changed the attitude of children inside, etc. and how it made a difference in the reformation process in the long run. She also mentioned some preventive measures adopted across the state for prevention of juvenile delinquency and role of the social system in it as well.
Also Ms Panna Momaya being the Head of Woman and Child Development Department, Gujarat we got further access to visit Mahila Police Station and meet the Child Welfare Officers and also Khanpur Observation Home through her kind word.
Gujarat State Child Protection Society and UNICEF
Meeting with : Mr Indrajeet, Program Manager, GSCPS | Ms Hemalee, UNICEF consultant with GSCPS
Our visit to GSCPS and discussion therein focused majorly on the work happening on the ground level in observation homes and child care institutions. They walked us through the work happening in reforms and rehabilitation currently, new things being introduced and challenges they faced during implementation. Along with the committee we were joined with a UNICEF consultant who worked closely with GSCPS.
We got a better insight into work done till now in Gujarat in the area of Juvenile reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration and involvement of various stakeholders. Also the discussion mentioned involvement of NGOs for long term-short term projects, overseeing the homes, involvement of parents in the rehabilitation process,etc.
The visit also gave access to Mehsana Place of Safety and Observation Home for further interactions and conducting workshops.
Our visit to Gujarat High Court was mainly for detailed information collection. We got access to materials regarding the Juvenile Justice Act, arrangement of training and sensitizing various elements of the system as per requirements of the act. It gave us a complete clarity of the journey of JJA from inception to the 2015 amendment. Also got a brief overview into how this system operates on a state and national level and through a process of constant evaluation among states is made sure to work efficiently.
Apart from that we met with the Director of the Judicial Academy, an institution which plays a huge role in arrangement of training sessions for the elements of the system and also the zonal conferences among the states.
We also met with the newly formed Secretariat of the Juvenile Justice Committee ( JJC ), Gujarat who helps JJC oversee the JJS operations in the state.
Khanpur Juvenile Justice Board and Observation Home
After a study of the material we received from the High Court, we witnessed the live proceedings of the Juvenile Justice Board and met the Principle Magistrate of the Juvenile Justice Board. The overall atmosphere of the Board was child friendly in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act. We got an insight into the process that takes place before, and how the child is placed in a Observation Home or not. As per the regulations all officials are in plain clothes, the speech and settings inside are informal so as not to intimidate the child. Parents are present throughout the proceedings. The JJB operates in two sessions per day.
We also interacted with the Superintendent of the Home, Probation Officer, counselor, teachers and other staff there.
Also we got a look inside the Khanpur Observation Home.