The Reformatory Schools Act, 1897

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The Reformatory Schools Act has been incorporated on 11th March, 1897. This Act has been established to amend the laws relating to Reformatory Schools and to make required provisions in respect of Youthful Offenders as it is expedient.

The State Government has the power to institute or terminate the Reformatory Schools. These Reformatory Schools shall be institute in such a place as the State Government shall feel fit. The State Government shall make anybody to institute a Reformatory School, who is willing to Act in pursuance to this Act and in consistent to any other laws in force as specified under the Provisions of this Act. The State Government shall order any such Reformatory Schools to cease to exist or to establish as it deems necessary as and when it is needed.

The Reformatory Schools so instituted should always fulfill the requirements of such Schools as prescribed under the Provisions this Act. These Schools must provide all necessary facilities for separating the inmates during the sun set. These Schools shall provide all the basic necessity such as sanitary facilities, foods & clothing, Medical facilities, water & bed facilities and such other facilities to the Youth Offenders. These Schools shall also provide industrial trainings as prescribed under the provisions of this Act.

Inorder to function in pursuance to this Act, these Reformatory Schools shall be properly scrutinized to certify its eligibility to perform its duty under this Act by the Inspector General before the Youth Offenders sent to such Schools. These Schools shall be investigated periodically as and when necessary by the Inspector General. The Inspector General in turn submit the report of this Reformatory School to the State Government as and when required as prescribed under the provisions of this Act.

The Court by using its Judiciary powers shall through its Judgment shall Order the Youthful Offenders who is punished under the provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860 to the Reformatory Schools with the motive to make them organized in their Life, subject to the rules framed by the State Government in pursuance to this Act. This type of Judgments shall be ordered either by Magistrate Courts, Sessions Courts, District Courts or such other Courts either by Trial Courts or on Appellate Courts as prescribed under the Provisions under this Act. There are certain Magistrate Courts who cannot pass such order to send the Youthful Offender to the Reformatory Schools except the convict’s age is within fifteen, in such case the Magistrate without passing the Order shall record and submit his proceedings to the District Court to which it is subordinate to and forward such Youthful Offenders to that Court having power to Order to send the youthful convicts to the Reformatory Schools. In order to find the eligibility to pass such order proper inquiry shall be conducted as specified under this Act.

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The Youthful Offender who are convicted to sent to Reformatory Schools shall be by Special or General Order sent to such Reformatory Schools as specified under the provision of this Act but this may be subject to the availability of accommodation in such Schools.  Till the time of availability of accommodation in such School the Youthful Offender shall be detained under the Juvenile Ward for such Offenders under this Act found suitable by the State Government. No Offender shall be considered as a Youthful Offender and sent to Reformatory Schools immediately from the age of eighteen.

The State Governments between each other shall make a suitable arrangement in sending the Youthful Offenders to the Reformatory Schools as and when it is necessary and deems fit. The State Governments shall notify in the Official Gazette to establish a Reformatory School. Certain Orders by the Court shall not be appealable or can be preceded for Revision. The State Government in order to maintain an efficient functioning of the Reformatory Schools shall form a Board or a Committee of Visitors and the Superintendent. These members shall not be less than five.

The State Government shall appoint such members and Committees or Board of Management by notifying in the Official Gazette. They also have the powers to remove or dismiss such Board or Committee as and when it deems necessary under the provision under this Act. The Superintendent shall give license to the employer to make such Offender to work in such place when he attains the age of fourteen. This Superintendent acts as a Guardian to such Youthful Offender. They may even cancel such license or determine upon such license as and when necessary and required. This Board of Management or Committee of Visitors and such other associations or members appointed in pursuance to this Act shall perform in such a manner as specified under the provisions of this Act. In case of anybody acting in violation to any provisions under this Act shall be penalized in such a manner as prescribed under the provisions of this Act.

This Act is really a beneficial Act to the Youthful Offender. This Act has been further amended as and when it deemed necessary and now there were several other enactments or laws formed in pursuance to the protection of minor convicts in a reformatory manner.

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by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu.