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CHAPTER X

BOMBAY BORSTAL SCHOOLS ACT, 1929 ( XVIII OF 1929)


1. The Bombay Borstal Schools Act applies to young offenders, in the case of a boy from 16 to 21 years of age (inclusive) and in the case of a girl from 18 to 21 years of age (inclusive) and authorises First Class Magistrates and Superior Courts to pass in lieu of imprisonment an order for detention in a Borstal School for not less than 3 or more than 5 years (Section 6).


The Aim of Borstal Training


2. The Bombay Borstal Schools Act, 1929, supplements the provisions contained in the Bombay Children Act, 1948, in respect of youthful offenders in the case of a boy above the age of 16 years and in the case of girl above the age of 18 years. The Bombay Borstal Schools Act is applicable to offenders of both the sexes. At present, there is no Borstal School established for girls in the State. The girl offenders shall not be ordered to be detained in Borstal School so long as a Borstal School for girls is not established under Rule 2 of the Borstal School Rules 1965 (vide G.N.H.D. No. BSA.0872/32077-VII (dated 6th April, 1973). The aim of the Act is to reform young offenders who have fallen into crime and who have acquired bad habits and associations and have thus developed a tendency or leaning towards crime. The Borstal School at Kolhapur provides for educational facilities upto the Xth Standard for such lads and they are also allowed to appear for S.S.C., P.D. And higher University examinations as external candidates. It also organises carpentary, polishing, tailoring, weaving and lathe sections to provide training of such lads in these trades. The lads are also employed in laundry, kitchen and agriculture sections. Well behaved lads are permitted to attend training courses organised by the Industrial Training Institute, Kolhapur. Cultural activities are also organised at the School at some fixed intervals. Lads are encouraged to participate in selected public competitions in games etc. There is accommodation for about 143 inmates in this School. Courts should commit only those offenders to the Borstal School, who are likely to benefit by such training and not those who are hardened or such habitual offenders that institutional training given at much expense by Government is likely to be wasted on them.


Enquiries to be made


3. In order to determine whether an offender is a suitable person for being sent to the Borstal School, the Court should, as soon as it frames the charge, or where summary procedure has to be followed at the earliest possible moment, cause inquiries to be made regarding the offender' antecendents, character, home circumstances, the enviornments in which he lives, his fitness for institutional and vocational training, and also regarding his mental and physical state of health. Mental and physical examination together with assessment of age, should, if necessary, be made by a competent Medical authority. Other inquiries should be conducted through the District Probation Officers.


Types which are suitable for Borstal detention.


4. Adolescent offenders may be classified into three categories :--

(1) The first offender, who has no criminal habits or associations.-- Such boys are not suitable for detention in the Borstal School, inasmuch as they do not require the education and training provided there. They may be dealt with under section 4 (3) of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.


(2) The youthful offender with a tendency towards crime. -- The habitual tendency of leaning towards crime is not to be gauged merely from frequency of convictions. The Court should take into consideration the report of the District Probation Officer or any other person, who has been authorised to make inquiries (which should be initiated at the earliest possible moment) into the antecendents, character and family history of the accused etc. Courts often hesitate to commit to Borstal School a young offender on his first conviction and instead, sentence him to a rigorous imprisonment for a short period. They direct detention in the Borstal School after the offender has been convicted twice or thrice. By this time, it is too late for him to derive any benefit from institutional training, as he has become hardened and by his confirmed criminal ways is more suited for the Juvenile Section of the ordinary prison than for the Borstal School. On the other hand, priliminary inquiries may reveal that a first offender has criminal tendencies. Committal to the Borstal School, therefore, should not depend on the number of convictions. Courts should inquire carefully into the previous history of such persons, their surroundings, home circumstances etc., and if convinced of their bad habits and associations, should order detention in the Borstal School rathar than short periods of imprisonment, as the latter in no way act as a deterrent and do nothing to assist in the reformation of adolescent offenders.


(3) The youthful offender, whose offence is too serious to be dealt with under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, and whose (a) crime and (b) habits and associations do not indicate that he should derive much benefit by being sent to the Borstal School, should be sent to the Juvenile Section of the Jail.


Types which are not suitable for Borstal detention

5. (i) Sexual perverts or lads who have been convicted for sexual offences, viz. Under section 354, 366, 376, 377, 493, 497 and 498, Indian Penal Code, should not as a rule be sent to the Borstal School, but should be committed to the Juvenile section of Jail.


(ii) Lads convicted of a single offence of violence committed in a moment of passion should not ordinarily be committed to Borstal School.


Notice to be given to parent or guardian


6. Section 6 of the Borstal Schools Act requires that parents or guardian should be given hearing before Borstal detention is decided upon. This requirement should always be borne in mind by Courts.


Sentence of imprisonment not to be passed, if an order for detention is made


7. Under section 6 of the Act, the Court may, instead of passing sentence of imprisonment, pass an order for the offenders' detention in the Borstal School for such term not being less than three years and not more than five years as the Court thinks fit. If, therefore, the Court decides to pass an order of detention a sentence of imprisonment should not be passed.


Offenders belonging to other States


8. The Courts should bear in mind that lads committed to the Borstal School are eventually released on licence and sent back to their homes so that they may be rehabilitated as far as possible in their own town or village as useful and honest citizens After-care is necessary for this and such help and supervision is usually provided by, the Probation Officers wherever District Probation and after care Associations exist and by voluntary public spirited individuals otherwise. The aim of after-care is not possible, it is a waste of time and money to give training, as without the due help and guidance of the Probation Officers after release from Borstal School, young offenders usually revert to old habits and vices. In the case of lads coming from a State other than the State of Maharashtra, such after-care is difficult and well-nigh impossible, as organisations for after-care do not exist or are few and far between. A list is appended of those States, which are co-operative and where such help is forthcoming or where similar Borstal Institutions exist and thereby reciprocal arrangement between the State Government and the Government of the other State where such Borstal Institutions exist, is possible. Courts should, as a general rule, refrain from committing young offenders hailing from States other than those appearing in this list to the Borstal School, Kolhapur, as in such cases the training given at much expenses by the Government of this State is likely to be wasted.


9. The following is a list of Probation Officers / District Associations which undertake after-care and rehabilitation of inmates released from Borstal Schools on licence :-


(1) All District Probation Officers.

(2) The Maharashtra State Probation and after-care, Association, Greater Bombay, Bombay.

(3) The Nava Jeevan Mandal, Pune,

(4) The Nave Jeevan Mandal, Nashik.

(5) The Nava Jeevan Mandal Aurangabad.


10. (1) The list of States which have entered into reciprocal arrangements with the Government of Maharashtra in respect of maintenance charges of boys detained in the Borstal School, is given below :--


(1) Madhya Pradesh,

(2) Punjab,

(3) Tamil Nadu,


(2) List of States which have after care arrangements for lads released from the Borstal Schools :--


(1) Uttar Pradesh,

(2) Bengal,

(3) Delhi,

(4) Tamil Nadu,

11. List of homes approved by Government to which females convicts sentenced for offences, other than infanticide, may be sent after release by Government under Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 :--


(1) The Salvation Army Women's Industrial Home, Bombay,

(2) The Hindu Women's Rescue Home Society's Shraddhanand Anath Mahilashram, Matunga, Bombay.

(3) The Hindu Women's Rescue Home Society, Pune,

(4) The St. Catherine's Home, Andheri, Bombay, andheri

(5) Mahila Seva Gram, Yerandavana, Pune.