Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection of Children) Act
Being a member of the most vulnerable group in society, protecting children’s rights has long been a crucial concern. The United Nations has occasionally developed one or more treaties and acts to defend their rights. India has put forth every effort to create legislation that are compliant with UN treaties because it is a party to those agreements.
The Indian government had undertaken a similar endeavor in 2000, which was successful. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2000 was created in accordance with the 1989 General Assembly-adopted treaty on children’s rights.
Overview of the Juvenile Justice Act
The juvenile justice act, which contains five chapters and focuses on two categories of children:
- Juvenile in Conflict with law
- Child in need of care and protection
Several terminologies used in the legislation are defined in the first chapter. In addition, it covers the case when a kid was the subject of an investigation and lost that status while the investigation was still ongoing.
The first target category of children covered by the act, JCL, is addressed in chapter two, which also lays out numerous guidelines on how to handle such youngsters.
CNCP are covered by Chapter 3’s provisions, which are for them.
The topics of child rehabilitation and social integration are covered in Chapter 4.
The last chapter, Chapter 5, outlines a variety of rules pertaining to the welfare of children.
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Discussion of all 5 chapters of the Juvenile Justice Act
When reading the Act, terms that are defined in Section 2 shall, unless otherwise specified, have the same meanings as those defined there. The following are some significant definitions covered under S.2:
- Juvenile is any youngster under the age of 18 according to 2(k).
- Who shall be regarded as CNCP is specified in 2(d).
- Any kid who has committed a crime and is under the age of 18 is defined as a JCL under the Act, according to section 2 (1).
According to the Act’s S.3, even if a JCL or CNCP is the subject of an investigation and the child loses their status as a juvenile during that investigation, the investigation will still go forward because the child is still a juvenile.
2. Chapter 2
- The provisions pertaining to JCLs are covered in the second chapter of the Act.
- The Act contains provisions for the establishment of juvenile justice boards, which will hear matters involving JCLs, wherever the state government considers appropriate.
- JJBs must have a bench made up of a woman social worker and two other social workers, as well as a metropolitan magistrate or judicial magistrate of the first class.
- The magistrate chosen to serve as the Principal Magistrate for JJBs must have experience in either child psychology or child welfare.
- The Act further stipulates that the duration and tenure of the JJB should be three years.
- The powers of JJBs can be bestowed on a high court or court of session when an appeal or revision is submitted to them under the Act.
- JJB will do their business at one of the observation residences.
- For the purpose of receiving and rehabilitating JCLs, a provision has been created to establish observation homes and Special homes in each district or in a cluster of districts as the State sees proper.
- These houses may be established by the State on its own or through a contract with a nonprofit.
- For juveniles whose proceedings are ongoing, observation homes are available.
- If the JJB determines that the child’s rehabilitation is not yet complete after the case’s processes are over, the JCL in question will be placed in a Special home for a maximum of three years.
- As soon as the police come into touch with the JCL, they must transfer him to the Special Juvenile Police Unit, which will immediately notify the Board of the child’s whereabouts.
- Juveniles must always have access to bail if the Board determines that their release won’t put them in danger or under the influence of criminals.
- The youngster will only be given into the custody of an observation home if he is not released on parole.
- The SJPU is in charge of notifying the juvenile’s parents of JCL’s arrest and notifying the probation officer to contact the juvenile to make the appropriate inquiries.
- The JJB must conduct an investigation into the JCL case, and if it can be sufficiently established that the child committed the crime, it may then pursue any of the remedies outlined in S. 15 of the Act.
- It may be necessary for the probation officers to keep up a follow-up with the youngster in order for the child to be released from probation.
- The probation officers may be obligated to continue monitoring the youngster even after the child has been released.
- 16 states that a minor cannot be subjected to the death penalty, a sentence that could result in life in prison, or incarceration for failing to pay a fine or post a bond security.
- Juvenile cases cannot be processed concurrently with non-juvenile cases under this Act. He or she cannot be “disqualified” or made ineligible. He or she is not allowed to be exposed to periodicals, newspapers, or visual media that may divulge information on the minor.
- A juvenile who escapes the surveillance homes may be returned without a warrant or being punished.
- It is illegal to treat children cruelly at home or by anyone who has custody of them.
- This Act also includes measures for punishing those who use children as tools for committing crimes. Anyone who works a youngster in a dangerous sector, uses them for begging, or gives them alcohol or drugs faces jail time in addition to a fine.
3. Chapter three
- Section 2 of the legislation defines a child in need of care and protection.
- Child welfare committees will be appointed by the state to handle CNCP-related issues.
- The committee must have five members, including the chairperson, one of whom must be a woman and one of whom must have expertise in children.
- The act stipulates that the CNCP might be presented before the committee by a special juvenile police unit, a childline organization, a social worker, a concerned citizen, or even the child himself.
- Upon receiving the report from the special juvenile police, the committee may either uphold the investigation or issue a directive ordering the CNCP to send the youngsters home for a prompt investigation.
- The committee’s main goal is to place the child in a children’s home or shelter so that they can be restored.
- The ordinance created a special juvenile police unit to handle juveniles in an efficient manner.
- Every police station must have a juvenile or child welfare officer who has received specialized training.
- As soon as a child is apprehended for a suspected crime, his parent needs to be notified.
- In accordance with Section 37 of the Act, refuge homes for juveniles must be nonprofit organizations approved by the State government.
- These shelter homes will serve as drop-in locations for kids in immediate need.
- The amenities required by the guidelines must be present in the shelter dwellings.
- The committee must order the child’s transfer to the relevant authority if the child is from outside the committee’s jurisdiction. The child must be escorted by home personnel. The state government may give the child the travel allowance.
4. Chapter four
- The rehabilitation and reintegration of the kid are the topics of this chapter.
- It should start during the child’s stay in the designated home and must be completed using any of the following methods: Adoption, Sponsorship, Foster Care, Aftercare organization.
- Sections 41–44 of the legislation cover the provisions for each of the four methods stated above.
5. Chapter Five
- The chapter covers a variety of other provisions.
- In accordance with Section 46, any proceeding involving a child must be attended by the kid’s parent or legal guardian.
- According to Section 47, the competent authority may forgo the child’s presence and move forward with the investigation if they believe it is not necessary for the investigation.
- The act specifies that a child in need of medical attention must be taken to an institution that has been given approval.
- According to Section 49, a competent authority may, if necessary, take reasonable steps to determine the child’s age.
- According to the act, the probation officers’ or social workers’ reports must be treated in confidence. The youngster or his parent/guardian may, however, be informed of its content if the competent authority determines it is appropriate.
- Within 30 days, a person may appeal the Juvenile Justice Board’s decision to the court of session.
- The High Court may request a revision of the JJB ruling or take action based on an application.
- After receiving a request in this regard, any other competent authority may likewise change the JJB’s order.
- A fund for the care and rehabilitation of juveniles covered by this legislation may be established by the state government.
- The state advisory board will manage these money as may be required.
- Under this act, police personnel who frequently interact with juveniles must receive specialized instruction and training.
- The state government may assign any subordinate its authority under this act as it sees fit.
- If a problem emerges when implementing any provision of this act, the central government may issue regulations to solve the problem.
- If there are any issues implementing a provision of this act, the central government may enact regulations to address them.
The juvenile justice act, which was passed by the parliament, is a step in the right direction because it makes intelligent distinctions regarding the categorization of children and places a proper emphasis on their care and rehabilitation while also ensuring that juveniles who break the law are dealt with properly.