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The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

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The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021


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Context:

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, was recently passed in Rajya Sabha.

 

As per the amendments:

  1. The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions.
  2. It means that DMs and ADMs will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the JJ Act in every district- including the Child Welfare Committees, the Juvenile Justice Boards, the District Child Protection Units and the Special Juvenile Protection Units.
  3. The DM will also carry out background checks of CWC members, who are usually social welfare activists, including educational qualifications, as there is no such provision currently.
  4. The DMs are also to check possible criminal backgrounds to ensure that no cases of child abuse or child sexual abuse are found against any member before they are appointed.
  5. The CWCs are also to report regularly to the DMs on their activities in the districts.
  6. Serious offences will also include offences for which maximum punishment is imprisonment of more than seven years, and minimum punishment is not prescribed or is less than seven years.
  7. Instead of the court, the District Magistrate (including Additional District Magistrate) will now issue adoption orders.

 

Significance:

  • The changes give increased powers and responsibilities to District Magistrates.
  • This has increased protection of children at the district level, with checks and balances in place, and will also speed up the adoption processes in the country.

 

What is the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015?

The Act was introduced and passed in Parliament in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000.

  • It allowed the trial of juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults, in cases where the crimes were to be determined.
  • The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board.
  • It received impetus after the 2012 Delhi gangrape in which one of the accused was just short of 18 years, and was therefore tried as a juvenile.
  • The Act streamlined adoption procedures for orphans, abandoned and surrendered children and the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about “The Beijing Rules”? Read Here ( Know only in brief )

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CARA.
  2. About Juvenile Justice Boards.
  3. Provisions of the 2015 Juvenile Justice Act.
  4. Recent Amendments.
  5. What are Child Welfare Committed.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for reforms in Juvenile Justice Act of 2015.

Sources: the Hindu.