Juvenile Justice Act 2015 by Krishna Sreeja @lexcliq

Introduction:

Crime rate is day by day increasing in India and the most shocking trend that can be noticed is that Crime by juveniles is a harsh reality in India. A Juvenile can be defined as “a child who has not attained a certain age held liable for his criminal at which he can be acts like an adult person”. Among juveniles also there is a specific trend that, juveniles between be the age of 16 to 18 years are found to be more involved in heinous criminal acts. The statistics also show the number of juveniles found to be in conflict with law under the Indian Penal Code and the Special Local Law  has risen 13.6% and 2.5% respectively in 2013, as compared with 2012.

To put a full stop to these crimes, some acts were enacted by the Parliament. Under these acts, Juveniles were punishment for the crimes committed by them. The main purpose of these acts are to reform the Juveniles.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2015:

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was introduced and passed in Parliament in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000. One of the main provisions of the new Act was allowing the trial of juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults, in cases where the crimes were to be determined. The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board. This provision received an impetus after the 2012 Delhi gangrape in which one of the accused was just short of 18 years, and was therefore tried as a juvenile.

The Act seeks to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children as ratified by India on December 11, 1992. It specifies procedural safeguards in cases of children in conflict with law. It seeks to address challenges in the existing Act such as delays in adoption processes, high pendency of cases, accountability of institutions, etc.

This act also specifies the guidelines for adoption of a child. Under this Act, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) empowered as a statutory body. It enables the adoptive parents to adopt a child legally for free. Separate chapter (VIII) on Adoption provides for detailed provisions relating to adoption and punishments for not complying with the laid down procedure.

The Act provides for induction training of Members of Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee within two months of their appointment (Section s 4 and 27). The Chief Judicial Magistrate or Chief Metropolitan Magistrate is to review pendency of cases in the Juvenile Justice Board once in three months and direct the Board to increase the frequency of sittings or recommend constitution of additional Board (Section 16). There is a provision for the constitution of a High Level Committee to review the pendency of cases in the Juvenile Justice Board.

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.

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