History of Juvenile legislation in Indo-Pak
S J Tubrazy
The Bombay Children Act, 1924, was promulgated and its operation was extended to Province of Sind by a notification of the Home Department dated 24th February 1936. Sind was separated from Bombay Presidency in the year 1937 but these Bombay Acts continued to apply to this Province.
The Bombay Children Act, 1924 was only an attempt to introduce the subject of Juvenile delinquency by laying stress on the reformation and rehabilitation of neglected children and modifying the procedure to be adopted at the trial of such offenders. But the Bombay Children Act, 1924, did not confer jurisdiction on the Juvenile Court, to the exclusion of all other Courts, as held in Muhammad Zamin v. The State 1970 P Cr. L J 397. On the contrary the powers under the Act could be exercised under section 5. by the High Court, the Court of Session, District Magistrate, Sub‑Divisional Magistrate, a Presidency Magistrate, Juvenile Court or any other Magistrate of the First Class.
For trial of children’s cases, different laws were enacted for different Provinces and each such enactment differed in respect of the jurisdiction and procedure of Juvenile Courts. The lacuna in Bombay Children Act, 1924, was discovered in that Province after Independence and this outmoded Act was repealed and then reenacted as the Bombay Children Act, 1948. Suitable amendments were made providing exclusive powers of trial of Juvenile offenders by the Children’s Courts. In the Province of Sind also the Sind Children Act (XII of 1955) was enacted on July 11, 1955, but this Act was to come into force from the date of issue of notification in the official Gazette.
On October 3, 1955, Sind was merged in the Province of West Pakistan and no such notification was in fact issued. The result is that Bombay Children Act, 1924, continues to be applied although it has outlived its purpose and can no longer be considered as adequate for meeting the requirements and conforming to the latest theories and methods including psychotherapy for preventing Juvenile delinquency and for effectively treating the child offenders so that they should be rehabilitated and reformed as useful members of society instead of being discarded and humiliated as potential criminals, by simple detention in Juvenile prisons or remand homes.