Patna: There are 16,000 juvenile cases pending in Bihar courts, the majority of which are in Patna district, according to the state Social Justice Department. Patna accounts for more than 1,500 cases till March 31 last, sources in the department said.

By and large, the similar situation prevails in other districts with Gaya and Saran having 618 and 676 cases respectively.

There were 661 juvenile cases in Begusarai, while Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Vaishali, Gopalganj, Samastipur, Rohtas, Aurangabad, Munger, Banka, Darbhanga, Jehanabad, Arwal Katihar have 661, 596, 4498, 474, 442, 409, 403, 366, 347,
321, 305 and 300 respectively.

In the other districts the number varies between 297 and 67.

The cases are pending for a long time despite section 14 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 mandates disposal of such cases within four months of registration.

For juvenile delinquents in Bihar, there are 16 Supervision Homes, Special Homes, Remand Home and Protection Homes where around 1,000 of them are lodged at present.
 
It is a matter of concern that all these homes are being run in rented premises the physical condition of which is miserable.

Department sources said the state government had sanctioned construction of Child Protection Homes in every district and the necessary funds have been made available to the state Building Construction Department.

Out of the proposed buildings for Protection Homes, construction work has been completed for four, while the work is in progress for the other four.

Steps are on to make available land for construction of remand homes in other 30 places.
 
The department officials, however, expressed optimism that the trial of juvenile cases would be fast tracked in the districts following constitution of the juvenile justice tribunal in all districts.

Besides, appointment of the judicial magistrates and allied infrastructure have been put in place to expeditiously dispose of such cases, the sources revealed.

To accommodate the offenders, 19 additional remand homes would be built in the state, they said.

The state is the first in India to have notified setting up of District Child Protection Units (DCPUs), after the appointment of Assistant Director (Social Security) as the nodal person in all the 38 districts of Bihar.

Directives have been issued on their roles and responsibilities.

The Department of Social Welfare, the nodal department for implementing the JJ Act, also conducted orientations to members on their roles and responsibilities.

The Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 (Amended in 2007), requires setting up of DCPUs in every district. The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), approved by the Central Government in February 2009 also requires establishing District Child Protection Societies in the state, officials point out.

(Agencies)