(1) Any State Government may establish and maintain either by itself or under an agreement with voluntary organisations, special homes in every district or a group of districts, as may be required of reception and rehabilitation of juvenile in conflict with law under this Act.
(2) Where the State Government is of opinion that any institution other than a home established or maintained under sub-section (1), is fit for the reception of juvenile in conflict with law to be sent there under this Act, it may certify such institution as a special home for the purposes of this Act.
(3) The State Government, may, by rules made under this Act, provide for the management of special homes, including the standards and various types of services to be provided by them which are necessary for re-socialisation of a juvenile, and the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, the certification of a special home may be granted or withdrawn.
(4) The rules made under sub-section (3) may also provide for the classification and separation of juvenile in conflict with law on the basis of age and the nature of offences committed by him and his mental and physical status.
The preceding section, i.e., Section 8 provides for the establishment of Observation Homes for the temporary reception of juvenile in conflict with law pending his inquiry whereas the present section makes provision for establishment of Special Homes for juveniles in conflict with law who are found guilty of an offence and against whom order has been passed under Section 15 of the Act.
The object of these Special Homes is to provide for rehabilitation of the juvenile whose guilt has been proved. The juveniles in Special Home are classified in different categories according to their age, gravity and- nature of the offence, physical and mental health condition and they are kept separately under proper supervision. They are imparted general and technical education so that they may be rehabilitated as normal citizens after their release from the Home.
In the context of this section, it would be pertinent to refer to two Supreme Court decisions which were decided under the earlier Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 but are nevertheless relevant even for the purpose of the present J.J. Act of 2000.
In Sheela Barse v. Union of India, the Supreme Court observed that despite statutory provisions to the effect that children should not be kept in jail, a large number of children and juveniles were still lodged in jails.
The Court further observed that there is no controversy or doubt that the juveniles have to be kept in Observation Homes and not in jail pending trial or inquiry irrespective of the fact that they have crossed the age limit of being treated as juvenile pending inquiry or trial.
In Hava Singh v. State of Haryana and another the accused, an adolescent, was convicted under Section 302/34,1.P.C. and sentenced to imprisonment for life and sent to Borstal School under the Punjab Borstal Act, 1926. After having completed the age of 21 years, he was sent to jail to serve the remaining sentence and he spent over seven years in jail.
The Supreme Court held that the accused was entitled to be released on the ground that he being convicted by the Sessions Judge, the maximum period of detention as prescribed under the Act could be seven years which he had already completed in jail.