NEW DELHI: The juvenile gangrapist may have got off scot free, but the government has decided to carry out inspections and a social audit of all juvenile justice homes across India to evaluate the facilities available.
The audit will be carried out in collaboration with leading NGOs, a senior official in the Women and Child Development Ministry said. The audit will take place in early 2016, which is just a few days away.
The move comes close on the heels of the passage of the amended juvenile justice bill in Parliament last week, which lowers the age of juveniles involved in heinous crimes from 18 years to 16 years.
Suggestions had been made that the contrary conditions in juvenile justice homes should be improved so that children in conflict with the law can be reformed.
Question marks were raised on the state of the homes with the Intelligence Bureau reporting that the juvenile involved in the Nirbhaya rape case had been radicalised.
According to a study by the Asian Centre for Human Rights, there was a 336 per cent increase in child rape cases in the country between 2001 and 2011 and a large number of the crimes were committed in juvenile justice homes run and aided by the government. The report also noted there were hundreds of unregistered child care homes in India without the mandatory registration within six months under the Act. Inspection is seldom carried out in these unregistered homes and children remain extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse, the report said.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the highest increase in juvenile crime in 2013 was reported in categories of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (132.3 percent), insult to the modesty of women (70.5 percent) and rape (60.3 percent).
Of the 43,506 juveniles arrested for different crimes in 2013, 66.3 percent were in the 16-18 age group, and 50.2 percent came from poor families, with annual income of up to Rs25,000.