LAW, ORDER AND JUSTICE
DIRECTORATE OF SOCIAL WELFARE (CORRECTIONAL
ADMINISTRATION WING AND NON-CORRECTIONAL WING)
The Bombay Children Act (LXXI of 1948), the Bombay Borstal Schools Act (XVIII of
1929), and the Bombay Probation of Offenders Act (XIX of 1938)are the enactments pertaining to soda
legislation, the aim of which is to protect children and to prevent
juveniles, adolescents and young adults from becoming habitual criminals.
While the Children Act deals with children below sixteen years
of age, the Borstal Schools Act is applied to adolescents between 16
and 21 and the Probation of Offenders Act provides for supervision
of offenders of any age, especially those between 21 and 25 and
those who have not committed offences punishable with death or
transportation of life. In addition there are two more pieces of
social legislation, viz. the Bombay Beggars Act, 1945, for prevention of begging and the Bombay Habitual Offenders' Restriction Act
(II of 1947). dealing with prevention of crime and treatment of
The Bombay Children Act consolidates all previous laws relation to the custody, protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children and youthful offenders and also for the trial of youthful offenders It gives protection to four principal classes of children, viz., (1) those who are neglected, destitute or living in immoral surroundings and those in moral danger; (2) uncontrollable children who have been reported as such by their parents; (3) children who have been used for begging and such other purposes by mercenary persons and (4) young delinquents who either in the company or at the instigation of elderly persons or by themselves have committed offences under various laws of the land. Such children are taken charge of either by the police or by officers known as probation officers and in most cases are kept in remand homes. A remand home is primarily a place of safety where a child can be safety accommodated until its case is decided by the juvenile court. It also a place of observation where a child's character and behavior can he minutely observed and its needs fully provided for by wise
and careful consideration. After enquiries regarding their home conditions and antecedents have been completed they are placed before juvenile courts and dealt with according to the provisions of the Children Act. If the home conditions are found to the satisfactory and if what is needed is only restoration to their parents, they are placed under the supervision of a trained probation officer. If the home conditions are unwholesome and uncongenial, the children are committed to institutions known as " certified schools " or " fit persons institutions.".
" Fit person " includes any association established for the reception and protection of children. In all these schools or institutions the children receive training according to their individual aptitudes, in carpentry, smithy, book-binding, tailoring, agriculture, weaving, poultry-farming, goat-rearing, gardening, etc. Youthful offenders, when implicated in any offence alongwith adult offenders, have to be tried separately in juvenile courts. The technique employed in juvenile courts is entirely different from that in adult courts. Juvenile courts are held in remand homes. Penal terms are avoided, even the word " punishment" has been dropped from the enactment in describing the treatment to be meted out to such children. The children are regarded only as victims of circumstances.
Adolescent criminals coming under the Borstal Schools Act are sent for detention and training in the Borstal School, Kolhapur.
Machinery to enforce legislation
For the proper enforcement of the legislative enactments mentioned above, machinery, both official and non-official, is provided, The non-official machinery is provided by the Maharashtra State Probation and After Care Association, Poona, with a net-work of affiliated bodies called the district probation and after care associations. These associations provide " remand homes" and " after care hostels" and also employ probation officers to make enquiries regarding the home conditions and antecedents of children and also to supervise the young persons released either directly by courts or on licence from certified schools and the Borstal school. As regards the offenders dealt with under the Probation of Offenders' Act, the work of the district association consists of only in making preliminary enquiries regarding the cases of alleged offenders referred to them and in carrying in selected areas supervision of offenders released on probation.
The official agency is now the correctional administration wing of the directorate of social welfare.
In 1957 government constituted the. directorate of social welfare and set up a single organisation for looking after various social welfare activities of government at the executive level on a co-ordinated basis. The directorate of social welfare took over the activities of juvenile and beggars department and other social welfare activities viz., the education of the blind, dumb and mentally retarded, youth welfare, recreation and leisure-time activities (including cultural activities), matters pertaining to the state homes, district
shelters, reception centres under the moral and social hygiene programme, training for and research in social work (including socioeconomic surveys) and management of destitute homes. The directorate also issues licenses to institutions doing social welfare under the Women's and Children's Institutions (Licensing) Act, 1956.
Machinery to enforce legislation Official.
All this work is being executed by the directorate of social welfare
through the divisional social welfare officers at, Poona, Bombay,
Nagpur and Aurangabad who in turn implement the various schemes
through the district social welfare officers, chief officers under the Bombay Probation of Offenders' Act, and probation officers of districts under them.
So far as this district is concerned, the Beggars Act, has not yet been applied to the district. There is a detention home for beggars at Nandurbar.
The Bombay Children Act has been made applicable to the municipal area of Dhulia since July, 1957.
There is a remand home at Dhulia run by the district probation and after care association. The association has its own building for the remand home. There is no certified school in the district hut there are two ' fit person institutions' at Dhulia known as Victoria orphanage and Dr. Sumati Godbole Maternity home.
The Victoria orphanage admits 30 court committed educable children whereas the maternity home is used as a fit person institution for babies and toddlers below three years who are taken charge of under the Bombay Children Act.
Probation of Offenders Act.
The Bombay Probation of Offenders' Act, 1938 has been made
applicable to the district since April, 1962 and a chief officer has
been appointed for implementing the act in the district. This act
provides for the release of certain type of offenders on probation
and/or supervision instead of sending them to jails. The act provides
for treatment as against undergoing the sentence, and gives an
opportunity to certain offenders, especially first offenders, to improve
their behaviour without the stigma of imprisonment.