The Union cabinet on 6 August 2014 approved the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 to amend the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2000. The Union government plans to introduce the bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament.
Age of a Juvenile in the JJ Bill, 2014
• The bill will treat minors above the age of 16 as adults, who are accused of heinous crimes like rape and murder. The JJ Act, 2000 treats any person below the age of 18 as juvenile.
• The bill empowered the Juvenile Justice Board to decide whether a minor would be tried in a regular court or sent to a correctional centre.
• The bill provides that if a minor is sent to regular court, he would not be sentenced to life or death if found guilty. Currently, the maximum punishment under the Juvenile Justice Act is three years confinement at correctional homes.
The proposed change in legislation was triggered by a spate of rapes over the last two years, in which minors were found to be involved.
The Provision for Children in conflict zones and Corporal punishment in the JJ Bill, 2014
• The Bill proposes up to seven year rigorous imprisonment, 5 lakh rupees fine or both for militant groups who recruit child soldiers or use children for any purpose.
• The Bill widens the definition of corporal punishment by including physical and verbal abuse.
• It proposes stringent punishment for those who subject "a child to corporal punishment causing hurt and emotional distress for the child".
• Offenders could face jail term between six months on first conviction. Depending on the gravity of physical injury and mental trauma of the child, the offender could be punished with three to five years in jail and up to 1 lakh rupees fine.
• If the offender is an employee of an institution dealing with children, he can be dismissed from service for repeat offence. Even the management of such institution can be sentenced to up to three year jail and 1 lakh rupees fine for non-compliance or non-cooperation in any probe.
• Those ragging students within or outside an institution can be sentenced to up to three years in jail and fined up to 1 lakh rupee. Anybody found to abet or propagate ragging can land in jail, too.
If the Bill is passed in Parliament, India will join 40 other countries where corporal punishment is a penal offence.
Further, the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry in order to smoothen the procedure of adoption intended to make the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) the statutory body.
CARA will have powers to regulate inter-country adoptions along with issuing guidelines on adoption and related matter.
About Juvenile Justice Act
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 is the primary legal framework for juvenile justice in India. The Act provides a framework for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system.
This law, brought in compliance of Child Rights Convention 1989, repealed the earlier Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 after India signed and ratified Child Rights Convention 1989 in year 1992.
This Act was further amended in year 2006 and 2010.
Who: The Union cabinet
When: 6 August 2014