Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act

Proposed amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

Mains level: Key provisions of Juvenile Justice Act

The Union Cabinet has approved a slew of amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

What are the key features of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015? Discuss the proposed amendments by the WCD ministry.

Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

  • The JJ Act, 2015 replaced the Indian juvenile delinquency law, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
  • It allows for juveniles in conflict with Law in the age group of 16–18, involved in Heinous Offences, to be tried as adults.
  • The Act also sought to create a universally accessible adoption law for India.
  • The Act came into force from 15 January 2016.

Key features

  • Change in nomenclature from ‘juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with law’, across the Act to remove the negative connotation associated with the word “juvenile”
  • Inclusion of several new definitions such as orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children; and petty, serious and heinous offences committed by children;
  • The Act mandates setting up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. Both must have at least one woman member each.
  • Special provisions for heinous offences committed by children above the age of sixteen years – Under Section 15, special provisions have been made to tackle child offenders committing heinous offences in the age group of 16-18 years (in response to the juvenile convict in Nirbhaya Case).
  • Separate new chapter on Adoption to streamline adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children – To streamline adoption procedures for orphan, abandoned and surrendered children, the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is given the status of a statutory body.
  • Inclusion of new offences committed against children – Sale and procurement of children for any purpose including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, use of child by militant groups, offences against disabled children and, kidnapping and abduction of children.
  • Penalties for cruelty against a child– offering a narcotic substance to a child, and abduction or selling a child has been prescribed.
  • Mandatory registration of Child Care Institutions

What are the news amendments?

The amendments are aimed at strengthening the Child Protection set-up to ensure the best interest of children.

(A) More powers to the DM

  • These include empowering the DMs and the additional DMs to monitor the functioning of agencies responsible for implementing the JJ Act.
  • The District Child Protection Units will function under the DMs.

(B) Evaluating shelter homes

  • Before someone sets up a shelter home for children and sends their proposal for registration under the JJ Act to the State, a DM will have to assess their capacity and conduct a background check.
  • A DM could also independently evaluate the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee, Special Juvenile Protection Units and registered childcare institutes, the Minister stated.

(C) Members of committees

  • The proposed amendments also define the eligibility parameters for the appointment of members of the Child Welfare Committees.
  • These committees are tasked to decide on children in need of care and protection and mandate their background checks.

(D) Definition of Children

  • It is also proposed to expand the definition of children in need of care and protection and include those children who have been victims of trafficking or drug abuse or child labour.
  • It would also include those children who have been abandoned by their guardians.

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