Amendments To Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2015

The Union Cabinet has approved Amendments to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The amendments, once approved by Parliament, will strengthen Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children.

Aim of this Amendment

To increase the scrutiny of child care institutions and enhance the role of district magistrates to ensure the set-up works in the best interests of children.

Major Features of this Amendment

A.Priority to Role of DM/ADM

  • District Magistrates (DMs), Additional District Magistrates (ADMs) have been empowered to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.
  • The district magistrates have been further empowered under the Act to ensure its smooth implementation as well as garner synergised efforts in favour of children in distress conditions.
  • The district child protection units will also function under the district magistrate.

B.Expansion of the Definition "Child in Need of Care"

  • Child victims of trafficking, drug abuse and those abandoned by their guardians will be included in the definition of "child in need of care" and protection under the amended law.

C.Streamlining Child Welfare Committees

  • Till now there was no specific direction to carry out a background check of people who are to become members of the Child Welfare Committees (CWC) as there is no such provision currently to check if a person has a case of girl child abuse against him. Now, before becoming a member of the CWC, background and educational qualification checks will be included.
  • Earlier, any organisation which wanted to run a child care institution would need to give its proposal to the state government but in the proposed amendments, before registration of a CCI, the DM will conduct its capacity and background check and then submit the recommendations to the state government. The DM can independently evaluate a specialised CWC, juvenile police unit and registered institutions.
  • A member of the child welfare committee has to mandatorily attend three-fourth the number of meetings after the amendments.

D.Additional Categorization of Offences

  • The amendments also categorise certain previously undefined offences as 'serious offences'.
  • At present, the Act has three categories of ‘petty’, ‘serious’ and ‘heinous crimes’. One more category will be included of offences where the maximum sentence is more than 7 years but no minimum sentence is prescribed or a minimum sentence of less than 7 years is provided shall be treated as serious offences within the JJ Act.