Sunday, December 11, 2005

Boy in jail for 14 months

Mahottari, Dec 11-Though the law of the land bars the state from imprisoning persons under 16 years of age, the very same law is deaf and dumb when it comes to the case of Mithilesh Yadav, a 15-year-old resident of Shreepur VDC-3, who has been imprisoned at the Jaleshwor jail for 14 months on the charge of committing a robbery and murder Himalayatimes reports.

Though the District Court, Mahottari, had ordered the jail administration to send Yadav into a Children's Home, Yadav continues to languish in prison.

The children under 16 years of age should neither be chained nor be confined even if they have committed serious offences, the Constitution of Nepal-1990 says, adding: "They (the minors) should not be kept with other jailbirds even if they have committed crimes."These provisions notwithstanding, Yadav has been kept with other inmates. Like other inmates, he is provided the food-grain of 'B' category, the district administration says.

Referring to the detention of Yadav, Narayan Prasad Adhikari, an advocate, says: "It is illegal to keep a minor in jail, adding that he should be kept at a children's home."

"The Children's Act under the Constitution of Nepal-1990 states that children under 16 years of age should be kept in a children's home," he says.

The local administration has neglected the judiciary by putting Yadav behind bars, he says.
The Supreme Court can facilitate the release of minors by issuing an order to the jail administration.

A case in point: Bajlu Godiya, a 14-year-old, was imprisoned at the Banke jail following an order from the Banke district court. But he was released after the Supreme Court, issuing an order on March 15, 2005, directed the jail administration to free him in accordance with section 42 of the Children's Act-2048.

Yadav, who was studying in grade 10 at the Shreepur VDC-based Sonfi Secondary School prior to confinement, has not been able to give continuity to studies.

"We have been writing to the Bhaktpur-based Children's Home, the Home Ministry and the Jail Management Department to admit Yadav at a children's home, but to no avail," said Debiram Bhandari, the jailor at the Jaleshwor Jail.Meanwhile, Yadav has requested the NGOs working for children's welfare, human rights activists and journalists to facilitate his release.

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