Child rights

Seven things about the new Juvenile Justice Bill you should know

The Juvenile Justice Bill, which is likely to come up for discussion in the current Parliamentary session, could only end up worsening the crime situation.

1.  If a 16-year-old boy, and a girl aged between 16 and 18 are in love and happen to express it through more than texts, calls and flowers, the boy could be booked under charges ranging from molestation to rape under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.

2.   After the 10th board exams, some friends organise a party, just like in the movies, with music, booze and some of those so-called happy drugs. The police decide to visit because of the loud music. All the teenagers at the party could be sent to an adult jail for seven years or more for violating the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

3.  If a bunch of boys get wild and get involved in a fight that result in blood and broken bones, an admonition from their parents or suspension from school won’t be the only consequences. The new Juvenile  Justice Bill will seek put the boys in an adult jail for assault and causing injury. Depending on the severity of the fight, they could be in for 12 years.

4.  If a student brings his father's weapon to school on a dare and gets found out, there's more than suspension waiting for him. He could do to an adult prison under the Arms Act.

5.    Violating privacy, sending lewd messages, obscene photos, texts and videos are crimes covered under the Information Technology Act, and are punishable with imprisonment of up to two years. This is another route to an adult prison for those young people who engage in cyber bullying and harassment.

6.  The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill is being proposed as the one-stop solution to deterring juveniles from committing serious crimes.  It proposes to send juvenile offenders (16-18 age group) to adult prisons when convicted of such crimes. However, studies, data and recent developments in other countries show clearly that sending children to adult prisons actually results in more crime and criminals. In the US, studies have shown that lowering the age at which a child can be tried as an adult is actually counter-productive. After all, adults prisons are nothing but crime schools for children.

7. India’s existing  Juvenile Justice Act is being changed in the aftermath of the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case because the media reported endlessly the lie that the juvenile involved in the case was the "most brutal" even though the investigating officer of the case Anil Sharma insists that this was not so. Later in 2013, the Juvenile Justice Board also recorded that there was nothing in the statements of Nirbhaya or her friend that suggested that the juvenile was the most brutal. For more information on the new Bill, read more here.

Valay Singh is a child rights activist.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.