Boss Lady of The Fortnight 

Legal – cum – Probation officer at Juvenile Justice Board – Ms. Nisha Saini

What is the worst nightmare for a parent? Anything going wrong with their child. We dread the time when our children fall sick. Even though we know that the child will get better eventually. Every parent wants the best for their child.
But what happens if your child gets into serious trouble and commits a crime? Is there a way out? Why would any child do anything like that in the first place?
I wanted to look for some answers and I decided to visit the Juvenile Justice Board in Gurgaon. I took an appointment with Mrs. Nisha Saini, who is a Legal cum Probation Officer at Juvenile Justice Board.
I crossed a few courts before I finally reached the board building. I saw so many people but none of them were smiling. The atmosphere was so tense. They all looked so serious. There was so much traffic right outside the court. So many people embroiled in legal battles.
I finally reached the Juvenile Justice Board and parked my car, I was late already. I called Mrs. Nisha Saini and asked her for directions to her office. I rushed towards a red brick building and saw a girl standing outside the reception. She looked like a college kid and I thought she is probably doing her internship there. But it was Ms. Saini who was waiting for me there. She was very warm and welcoming. Even though she had another meeting, she took the time out from her busy schedule. We went to her office and she smilingly gestured for me to sit. We started the interview.
Kindly tell us something about yourself?
Mrs. Nisha Saini – I did my LLB (Bachelor of Law) and Post Graduation in Human Rights. I also did my Masters in Business Administration as I loved studying and I wanted to pursue my education further. I always wanted to be a lawyer and my father always encouraged me. I practiced in court for some time before joining here.
Tell us something about your family?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: I am married and have a thirteen-year-old child. My husband works for WHO. I got married when I was pursuing LLB and continued to study after my marriage. I have a very supportive husband who always encouraged me and supported me in my decision-making.
What does your work involve?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: Any juvenile who is in conflict with the law, is brought to Juvenile Justice Board. A probation officer plays an important role in the system. I prepare a ‘social investigation report’ of the child. I talk to the parents, child, teachers, friends, etc to find out about the child. This report is then sent to the court. The report is based on facts. I also visit the place of safety and observation homes to meet them and observe the facility. Once a month I go to Bhondsi Jail to see if any juvenile has been sent to prison without their age being verified.
Do you get to meet the criminals?
Mrs. Nisha Saini (correcting me) – The children who have alleged to have committed an offense are not called criminals. They are called ‘juveniles in conflict with law’. Yes, the children who are in conflict with the law are brought here.”
Why do children get into a situation like this?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: In most cases that I have seen, children indulge in these activities when parents don’t spend any time with their children. It could be any working parents who don’t have any time for their child. Children may or may not express it directly but they want to spend time with their parents.
Any advice you want to give the parents?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: Watch out for sudden changes in your child’s behavior. What kind of company he/she is keeping. What kind of exposure your child is getting. What is your child watching on the internet?
Spend a minimum of 30 minutes of quality time with your children every day. Talk to them about their day. Ask them about how their day went and also tell them about yours.
What are your working hours?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: I usually come to work at around 10 am and am here till 5 pm, but if there is a case then there are no fixed working hours. In that scenario, we are working on weekends too.
If there is a case that is disturbing, then how do you switch off your mind once you get home from work?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: Any case that involves a child is disturbing. I can’t switch off my mind, I have just gotten used to it.
What happens when a child commits a crime?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: If there is a juvenile in conflict with the law, he or she is brought to Juvenile Justice Board. If the incident has happened in the night, then the juvenile is sent to an observation home for the night and is brought to the board the next day.
The child is sent to a place of safety if the juvenile is between 16 to 18 years of age. Observation home if the child is below 16 years of age. The reformation for the juveniles in conflict with the law is usually community service.
Have you seen juveniles in conflict with the law getting reformed?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: Yes, of course, they get reformed.
What are your hobbies?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: I love spending time with my son and husband. I love gardening and reading. If I get any free time left, I love to sleep.
What advice would you like to give to all women?
Mrs. Nisha Saini: Financial independence is important. But if you decide to have children, there should be a work-home life balance. Because children are most important.