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The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021

The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021

Why in news? | The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Amendment Bill 2021  

  • Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 that seeks to strengthen and streamline the provisions for protection and adoption of children.
  • The Bill amends the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and contains provisions related to children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, proposes to increase the role of district magistrates and additional district magistrates with issues concerning child care and adoption.

Key Amendments Proposed | The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Amendment Bill 2021

  • Inclusion of Serious offences: 
    • 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 of less than seven years. The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021
    • Serious offences are those for which the punishment under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being is imprisonment between three and seven years.
    • Juvenile Justice Board inquires about a child who is accused of a serious offence.
  • Non-cognizable offences:
    • The Act provides that an offence which is punishable with imprisonment between three to seven years will be cognizable (where arrest is allowed without warrant) and non-bailable.
    • The Bill amends this to provide that such offences will be non-cognizable. The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021
  • Appeals from aggrieved: 
    • The Bill provides that any person aggrieved by an adoption order passed by the District Magistrate may file an appeal before the Divisional Commissioner, within 30 days from the date of passage of such order.
    • Such appeals should be disposed within four weeks from the date of filing of the appeal.
  • Adoption orders: 
    • Presently, the adoption order issued by the court establishes that the child belongs to the adoptive parents.
    • The Bill provides that instead of the court, the District Magistrate (including Additional District Magistrate) will issue such adoption orders.
  • Additional functions of the District Magistrate:
    • Supervising the District Child Protection Unit, and
    • Conducting a quarterly review of the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee.
  • Selected Courts: 
    • The Act provides that an offence against children under the Act, punishable with imprisonment of a term more than seven years, will be tried in the children’s court.
    • Other offences (punishable with imprisonment less than seven years) will be tried by any Judicial Magistrate.
    • The Bill proposes that all offences under the Act be tried in children’s court.
  • Child Welfare Committees (CWCs): 
    • The Act provides that states constitute one or more CWCs for each district for dealing with children in need of care and protection.
    • It provides certain criteria for the appointment of members to CWC.
    • For instance, an appointee should be:
      • Involved in health, education, or welfare of children for at least seven years, or
      • A practising professional with a degree in child psychology, psychiatry, law, or social work.  The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021

About Juvenile Justice Act | The Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill 2021

  • Replaced the 2000 act- the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
  • Aim: To Comprehensively address children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
  • It mandates setting up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. Both must have at least one-woman member each.
  • Also, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) was granted the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
  • The Act included several new offences committed against children (like, illegal adoptions, use of child by militant groups, offences against disabled children, etc) which are not adequately covered under any other law.
  • All Child Care Institutions, whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organisations are to be mandatorily registered under the Act within 6 months from the date of commencement of the Act.

 

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