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Handcuffing of Juveniles

Nawaz ul Haque*
The handcuffing of juvenile is a serious issue in India. As per Juvenile Justice Act,
2006 (amendment) and its rules; handcuffing of juvenile means violating the Rule 6
of Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Rules, 200 (!odel Rules)"
#orrespondingl$ as %ell as Rule &' of (ihar Juvenile justice Rules, 20)2 said the
same statement"
"No child or the juvenile in conflict with law dealt with under the provisions of
the Act and the rules made there under shall e handcuffed or fettered"
[Rule 76 & 89 of Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Rules, 2007 and of
Bihar Juvenile Justice Rules, 2012 respectivel!"
*o understand the a+ove mentioned su+ject in the frame%or, of Juvenile Justice
-$stem, %e have to discover #hat $uvenile $ustice is and #ho are $uveniles.
*he first central legislation on Juvenile Justice %as passed in )'&6, +$ the /nion
0arliament, providing a uniform la% on juvenile justice for the entire countr$" 0rior to
this la% each state had its o%n enactment on juvenile justice %ith there +eing
differences in the %a$ juveniles %ere treated +$ different state legal s$stems" *he
Juvenile Justice Act %as thus passed to provide care, protection, treatment,
development and reha+ilitation of neglected or delin1uent juveniles and for the
settlement of certain matters related to and disposition of delin1uent juveniles"
*he 2overnment of India ratified the /nited 3ations #onvention on the Rights of the
#hild in )''2 there+$ ma,ing it e4pedient to adhere to the standards prescri+ed in the
#onvention" 5ence, the )'&6 JJ Act had to +e revie%ed and changes had to +e made
in order to secure the +est interest of the child and focus on social re6integration of the
child %ithout resorting to judicial proceedings" *he JJ Act )'&6 %as repealed and the
Juvenile Justice (#are and 0rotection of #hildren) Act 2000 %as passed ta,ing into
consideration all the International standards prescri+ed as per the #onvention on the
Rights of the #hild, the -tandard !inimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile
Justice, )'&7 ((eijing Rules), *he /3 2uidelines for the 0revention of Juvenile
*3a%a8 ul ha1ue, 0rogramme #oordinator, (al -a,ha, 0atna, (ihar"
9elin1uenc$ called the Ri$adh 2uidelines, )''0 and the /nited 3ations Rules for the
Use of handcuffs, chains or
ropes to bind prisoner's amounts
to inhuman treatment. The rule
regarding handcuffs is that they
should never be used as a matter
of routine. Their use is
permitted only in exceptional
cases and that too with judicial
permission, on the grounds that
the person poses a clear and
present. danger and there are
genuine reasons to believe that
s/he will attempt escape.
0rotection of Juveniles 9eprived of their :i+ert$ ()''0)" *he JJ Act 2000 %as
su+se1uentl$ amended and hereafter referred to as the 0rincipal Act"
As per the JJ Act 2000 and Amendment Act 2006, ; juvenile ; or ;child; means a
person %ho has not completed eighteenth $ear of age (-ec 2, clause ,); and <#hildren
in #onflict %ith :a%= means a juvenile %ho is alleged to have committed an offence
and has not completed eighteenth $ear of age as on the date of commission of such
offence (-ec 2, clause l)
*he child can +e apprehended for an offence punisha+le under an$ la% that is in force
at the time (could +e la%s under the #onstitution, Indian 0enal #ode, other statutor$
la%s, etc")"
*his paper addresses the issue of 5andcuffing of Juveniles, e4amining current police
practices, directives of -upreme #ourt of India and offer practical solutions to address
this pro+lem"
5andcuffing and fettering of accused>offender after
arrest is a general regular practice of police officials in
adult criminal justice s$stem irrespective of the level
of offences committed +$ them, +ut in juvenile justice
s$stem the$ (police) are +arred +$ the legislature from
this act of handcuffing and fettering of Juvenile>child
irrespective of their offences %hether it is serious or
non serious"
5o%ever, %hat %e see in practice is that police treated
ever$ juvenile in conflict %ith la% child as adult
accused and in majorit$ of the cases loc,ed them in
the police loc,6up, handcuffed them during production
in front of #hief judicial magistrate > competent
authorit$" ?ccasionall$ the$ unfetter > unchain the
#hild > juvenile in conflict %ith la% just +efore the production in front of competent
authorit$"
-everal 32?s %or,ing in the field of child rights find fault in the attitude of police
officials %hich comes from the adult criminal justice s$stem" ?n the other hand police
officials said hand cuffing and fettering is necessar$ reason to handle the juvenile
offenders in the age group of )@6)& +ecause of their %ic,ed smartness and a+ilit$ to
move speedil$ li,e lightening resulting in their escape" Another reason mentioned +$
the old age police officials is their ina+ilit$ to handle such juveniles due to their
gro%ing age factor" *he reasons cited +$ the police are practical +ecause the$ are
facing it in a routine +asis and should not +e overloo,ed"
!upreme "ourt #irectives on handcuffing and fetters.
)" 5andcuffs are to +e used onl$ if a person isA
A) Involved in serious non6+aila+le offences, has +een previousl$ convicted of
a crime; and>or
() Is of desperate character6 violent, disorderl$ or o+structive; and>or
#) is li,el$ to commit suicide; and>or
9) is li,el$ to attempt escape"
2" *he reasons %h$ handcuffs have +een used must +e clearl$ mentioned in the
9ail$ 9iar$ Report" *he$ must also +e sho%n to the court"
B" ?nce an arrested person is produced +efore the court, the escorting officer must
ta,e the courts permission +efore handcuffing her>him to and fro from the court
to the place of custod$"
@" *he magistrate +efore %hom an arrested person is produced must in1uire %hether
5andcuffs or fetters have +een used" If the ans%er is $es, the officer concerned
must give an e4planation"
7" It is necessar$ to ta,e the magistrates permission +efore handcuffing a person
%ho has +een remanded to judicial or police custod$"
6" A person arrested in the e4ecution of an arrest %arrant Cissued +$ a magistrateD
must not +e handcuffed unless prior permission has +een ta,en from the magistrate"
" In an arrest %ithout %arrant, the police is onl$ allo%ed to handcuff on the +asis of
concrete proof that the person is prone to violence; has a tendenc$ to escape; or is
so dangerous and desperate that there is no other practical %a$ to restrain her>his
movement" Even then the officer ma$ use handcuffs onl$ till the time the person is
!andcuffing without a magistrates approval is not permitted, save in rare
instances. "n such instances, the burden of proving that the use of handcuffs was
warranted lies on the police. "f the detaining authority or escort party fail to satisfy
the court about the genuineness of the danger or threat posed by the person who
was handcuffed, they will be liable under law." -unil (atra v 9elhi Administration )'&
-## @'@
ta,en to the police station and thereafter to the magistrateFs court"
&" Giolation of the #ourts directives +$ a police officer of %hatever ran, or an$
mem+er of the jail esta+lishment is punisha+le summaril$ under #ontempt of
#ourts Act, )') in addition to other provisions of the la%"
In $rem !han%ar !hu%la & #elhi Administration '()* !"" +,-, -upreme #ourt
of India rejected the argument of the state that handcuffs are necessar$ to prevent
prisoners from escaping" Insurance against escape does not compulsoril$ re1uire
handcuffing; there are other methods %here+$ an escort can ,eep safe custod$ of a
detenu Cdetained personD %ithout the indignit$ and cruelt$ implicit in handcuffs and
other complications"
*he$ also asserted that even orders from superiors are not a valid justification for
handcuffing a person" #onstitutional rights cannot +e suspended under the gar+ of
follo%ing orders issued +$ a superior officer" *here must +e reasona+le grounds to
+elieve the prisoner is so dangerous and desperate that he or she cannot +e ,ept in
control e4cept +$ hand cuffing"
Heeping in vie% of a+ove directives of -upreme #ourt of India regarding hand
cuffing, fetters (chains) or ropes to +ind prisoner, %e can clearl$ sa$ that the purpose
of the la% is to assure people that the$ can live under the legal s$stem %hich protects
their rights and interest"
*he Juvenile Justice -$stem is a +eneficial and sociall$ oriented legislation" *he
pream+le of the said Act is self e4planator$ %&n &ct to consolidate and a'end the la#
relatin( to $uveniles in conflict #ith la# and children in need of care and protection
and treat'ent ) caterin( to their develop'ental needs, and ) adoptin( a child*
friendl approach in the ad$udication and disposition of 'atters in the )est interest of
children and for their ulti'ate reha)ilitation and for 'atters connected there#ith or
incidental thereto"%
*he J"J" Act, 2000 spea,s a+out t%o t$pes of children one is juvenile in conflict %ith
la% and second one is child in need of care and protection" *he o+ject of the Act is to
,eep the child interest foremost at ever$ stage; %hether it is adjudication, disposition
and reha+ilitation matter of the child in +oth the categories"
In order to address the issue of handcuffing of juveniles, %a$ out is toA
Juveniles should +e escorted +$ the child %elfare officers>special juvenile
police unit to JJ( office during production and in no manner he should +e
handcuffed > fettered > using ropes for +inding him"
Inform the parents or guardian of the juvenile alleged to +e in conflict %ith
la% a+out the apprehension of the juvenile, need to present during production
+efore the Juvenile Justice (oard so that he>she %ould +e comforta+le and
tendenc$ of escape is reduced in parents presence"
follo% the unam+iguous guidelines prescri+ed +$ the Ape4 court and ta,e
suita+le action for dealing %ith unforeseen situations that ma$ arise %ithin the
purvie% of a+ove guidelines and the +est interest of children"