The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 comes into force

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The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, has come into force from today and repeals the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Union Ministry of Woman and Child Development has passed orders in this regard for the enforcement of the Act.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 was passed by Lok Sabha on 7th May, 2015; was passed by Rajya Sabha on 22nd December, 2015 and received Presidential assent on 31st December, 2015.The JJ Act, 2015 provides for strengthened provisions for both children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law.

Some of the key provisions include

  • The term ‘juvenile’  has been  changed to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with law’, across the Act to remove the negative connotation associated with the word “juvenile".
  • New defination have been included such as orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children; and petty, serious and heinous offences committed by children.
  • Clarity in powers, function and responsibilities of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC); clear timelines for inquiry by Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

New provisions for child offendersTo streamline adoption procedures for orphan, abandoned and surrendered children, 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. Adoption processes have been streamlined with timelines for both in-country and inter-country adoption including declaring a child legally free for adoption.

Rehabilitation and social reintegration : Under the new law Several rehabilitation and social reintegration measures have been provided for children in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection.

Institutional care : Under the institutional care, children are provided with various services including education, health, nutrition, de-addiction, treatment of diseases, vocational training, skill development, life skill education, counselling, etc to help them assume a constructive role in the society.

Non-institutional care : The variety of non-institutional options include: sponsorship and foster care including group foster care for placing children in a family environment which is other than child’s biological family, which is to be selected, qualified, approved and supervised for providing care to children.

Curb offences committed against children : Several new offences committed against children, which are so far not adequately covered under any other law, are included in the Act. These include: 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.

Registration of child care institutions :  All child care institutions, whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organisations,  which are meant for housing and rehabiliting children, regardless of whether they receive grants from the Government are to be mandatorily registered under the Act within 6 months from the date of commencement of the Act. Stringent penalty is provided in the law in case they are not registered.

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