Over 9,600 Children Wrongfully Incarcerated in Adult Prisons in India: Study

Vrinda Tulsian - Hindustan Times

New Delhi - Children in India are being wrongfully incarcerated with approximately 9,681 children found to have been wrongly held in adult facilities over six years from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2021, a study by London-based organisation iProBono has revealed. This averages to over 1,600 children being transferred out of prisons annually. The study is based on the data received through research and government Right to Information (RTI) applications.

“For six years, I thought the jail would be the end of my life. I lost my childhood,” said Neha, a Child in Conflict with the Law (CCL).

Her ordeal began in April 2018 when she was accused by her father of murdering her mother. At the young age of 17, she fell within the legal classification of a minor under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Despite this, she languished in an adult jail for years before obtaining the relief of bail.

Former Supreme Court Judge and chairperson of the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee Ravindra Bhat, addressing the issue blamed it on the states, saying that states are the “parens patriae” i.e., the legal protector of those who cannot protect themselves. The states have failed because it has been unable to protect the children.