Friday December 09, 2022

Juvenile justice system act violated by SHO: NCRC

November 25, 2022

Islamabad : The National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) took notice of the alleged custodial torture inflicted upon two minor boys by Station House Officer, G-9 Police Station. In this regard, a hearing was held at NCRC where the complainants Imaan Mazaari, Farhat Ullah Babar, District Prosecutor, SSP-Operations, the respondent, SHO G-9 Markaz Police Station, Advocate Adil Aziz Qazi, Chairman Human Rights Committee, Islamabad Bar Council appeared before the Commission.

The complainant, Imaan Mazhari alleged that she was present at the police station for a completely unrelated matter when she heard the screams of the minor boys from the retiring room of the SHO and witnessed him inflicting torture upon them.

The respondent, SHO G-9 Police Station categorically denied all the allegations against him and stated that the complainant has misunderstood construction noise as ‘screams’ whereas the SSP-Operations had denied the detention of any minor in the initial hearing. However, Police Inquiry Report found that there are seven credible witnesses against the SHO, and SHO failed to produce a single witness against the allegation.

It further says that when SHO was asked as to why he did not clear himself that there was no detainee inside the room then and there to which he could not give any reasonable or logical answer. In this regard, the representative of IGP ICT informed the Commission that after inquiry, the SHO has been penalised by demoting him to a lower rank.

The Commission questioned if no such incident had taken place and custodial torture is being denied, then why was a penalty imposed on the accused officer? While inquiring about the presence of victims, it was informed that NCRC’s summons was delivered at the residential address however victims were not present which also explains the fear of victims taking part in proceedings.

The Commission had directed the complainants and Inspector General Police, ICT to ensure the presence of the alleged victims before the Commission for clarity of the matter in the hearing on 23.11.22. The father of the alleged victim appeared before the commission on 23.11.22 and recorded his statement. The father stated that his son was illegally detained at G-9 Police Station and subjected to custodial torture from the 7th October to 12th of October and produced credible documentary evidence that confirmed the boys were minors.

The District Prosecutor confirmed before the commission that the arrest and age determination process for juveniles stated under the Juvenile Justice Act 2017 was not followed. The accused juveniles were implicated in three different FIRs at the same police station. Hence the Commission has prima facie concluded that the juvenile justice system act 2017 was violated by the SHO and found credible evidence suggesting that custodial torture was inflicted upon juveniles during illegal detention. The Commission expressed concerns over lack of institutional accountability in respect of misconduct by an officer, illegal detention and custodial torture.

The Commission highlighted that the applicability of Police Order 2002 has not been extended to Islamabad through a formal notification despite judgments of the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court. The Police Order 2002 stipulates an institutional mechanism for the accountability of police and shall be formally applicable in the city with immediate effect. The Commission further questioned the role of Magistrates in this complaint and recommended that the Code of Criminal Procedure Ordinance 2001 shall be extended to Islamabad through a formal notification in order to strengthen the criminal justice system in Islamabad.

The Commission further recommends that extensive training shall be conducted in order to build the capacity of police officers for the juvenile justice system. The Commission appreciates the cooperation of IG ICT and the assistance of District Public Prosecutor ICT in this complaint. The hearing was concluded with the recommendation that the immediate applicability of Police Order 2002 and Code of Criminal Procedure Code Ordinance 2002 is a key component of juvenile justice and to hold accountable any action where a juvenile is illegally detained and subjected to custodial torture.