Parameters of "Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000" Redesigned

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Ever since a juvenile offender was given a ‘light’ sentence in the Delhi Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012 under the existing child-friendly laws,there has been a outrage to treat juveniles involved in heinous crimes as adults due which it was was proposed to amend "Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000." which got approved by union cabinet recently

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the introduction "The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014" which has now replaced "Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000."  empowers the Juvenile Justice Board to decide whether a juvenile above 16 years involved in heinous crimes such as rape is to be sent to a observation home or tried in a regular court
  • when a heinous crime is committed by one in the age group 16-18 the Juvenile Justice Board will assess whether the crime has been committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’. The trial would take place on the basis of this assessment the present framework classifies offences as petty, serious and heinous and treats each category under a different process
  • The assessment will take place by the board which will have psychologists and social experts, it will ensure that the rights of the juvenile are duly protected if he has committed the crime as a child
  • The Bill permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences according to IPC and to be treated as child if the crime is simple and innocent 
  • Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. The JJB will conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether a juvenile offender is to be sent for rehabilitation or be tried as an adult. The CWC will determine institutional care for children in need of care and protection.

Negative factors of the Bill:-

  • Making children face an adult criminal court would spoil the prospect of their rehabilitation and they will repeat offences
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires all signatory countries to treat every child under the age of 18 years as equal the provision of treating a juvenile as an adult contradicts the UN Convention.
  • Certain penalities are not in proportion to the gravity of the offence as for example the penalty for selling a child is lower than that for offering intoxicating or psychotropic substances to a child.
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