Juveniles in Pakistan – Jawaria A Kashif

Juveniles need Due attention and Prime care….

In the law a “juvenile” is defined as a person who is not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. In Juvenile Justice System Act 2017 “juvenile means a child who may be dealt with for an offence in a manner which is different from an adult”.In criminal law minor is called juvenile.The term “Child” and “Juvenile” is used interchangeably.

UN Convention on the Rights of child

In the article 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 2017 , it is written about the child offenders that;
“Children who break the law should not be killed, tortured, treated cruelly, put in prison forever, or put in prison with adults. Prison should be the last choice and only for the shortest possible time. Children in prison should have legal help and be able to stay in contact with their family.”
Further in article 40 of the convention it is emphasized that child offender have access to legal help. It says;
“Children have the right to legal help and fair treatment in a justice system that respects their rights.”
Laws which deal with matters of juvenile

The Pakistan Penal Code, The Criminal Procedure Code, The Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, Juvenile Justice System Act and the Probation of Offenders Ordinance are relevant laws that deal with the matters of juveniles.

Definition of Juvenile Court

A court of law responsible for the trial or legal supervision of children under a specified age is called juvenile court.

Condition of Juveniles in Pakistan

In Pakistan the children are involved in almost all kinds of crimes ranging from murder to petty theft. Many children are used in drug trafficking. Besides,children are being used for suicide attacks.If we talk about the condition of our prisons then its very sad to tell that we don’t have separate prisons for minor offenders due to which children are kept in regular jails.

Now, after many years of struggle for the rights of child offenders by the activists, Pakistan has launched its first court in Lahore to deal with all cases related to children. Ex- Chief Justice Lahore High Court , Syed Mansoor Ali Shah inaugurated the Child Court at Judicial Complex in Lahore on December 19, 2017.

A separate waiting area, a vibrant room with toys has also been set up for counselling of under-trial children. The child courts along with the rehabilitation centres will be beneficial for the welfare of the Juvenile offenders.The juveniles in the rehabilitation centers can get training of different skills and use their energies towards something constructive so that when they are released from rehabilitation center / prison they can earn their livelihood in skillful manner and become a respectful citizen.These offenders need special treatment which is different from the one which is received by adult criminals,so as to give them a chance to go back to normal life.It is also required that the government should provide free legal assistance to juvenile offenders. The government should also establish juvenile court in each district of Pakistan.

Now its time for immediate implementation of the Juvenile Justice System Act 2017, keeping in view the constitutional rights of every child.

The author is an advocate of the High Court and can be reached at javekshf@gmail.com.The author takes sole and full responsibility of the statistical data and content. The views and opinions are her own. LEARN takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this work.

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