NEPAL: Govt to Add 8 Juvenile Benches

Summary: In the bid to ensure juvenile justice to the children involved in criminal activities, the government is set to add eight more juvenile benches by this year. This will take the total number of juvenile benches in the country to 40.

The Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) says that such benches will be set up in Siraha, Rautahat, Tanahau, Rupandehi, Bardia and Sindhuli.

With support from PLAN Nepal, an INGO working for the welfare of children, the government has already set up 32 benches. Such benches deal with children involved in criminal activities.  

The CCWB said the benches deals with children found guilty of a criminal act but are too young to be held responsible under the laws.

“We are sensitive about handling cases related to children,” said CCWB Director Dharmaraj Shrestha. He said children should not be treated as criminals.

In the juvenile justice system, hearing of the crime is held in a separate and child friendly room. The judge of the court will observe the behavior of children through CCTV footage.

“The child psychologist interprets their behavior which helps the judge to reach a conclusion,” Shrestha added. Under such a system, a social activist helps prepare the profile of the accused.

If the children are found guilty, they are kept in a correction home and provided all facilities that a normal child gets. “If the children cannot give continuity to their studies, they get different vocational training,” he added. The government has established such correction home at Sano Thimi, Bhaktapur.

According to the CCWB, the government is working to establish such benches in all the 75 districts. Juvenile justice covers a wide range issues ranging from the prevention of delinquency to social reintegration of the offender.

pdf: Republica National


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