From 15th January 2016 the Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children), 2015 came into force by replacing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
Objective of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015
The Act aims to cement and amend the law related to children, who are alleged and found to be in conflict with law and children in need of protection and care by providing them their basic needs through proper care, protection, development treatment, social re-integration, by adopting a child-friendly approach.
Key Provisions of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015
With an intention to remove the negative connotation associated with the word ‘Juvenile’ the Act has included change in nomenclature from ‘Juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘Child in conflict with law’ across its whole text.
The Act includes several new definitions such as orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children, and petty, serious and heinous offences committed by children. The Act clearly sets a timeliness for inquiry by Juvenile Justice Broad (JJB).
In the Act has been incorporated a separate new chapter on Adoption to streamline adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children. Special provisions has been incorporated in the new Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 for heinous offences committed by children above the age of sixteen years.
Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 treats ‘Juveniles’ as ‘Adults’
The Act permits for ‘Juveniles’ (16 years or above) to be tried as adults for heinous offences such as rape and murder. It is important here to comprehend that in law heinous offences are those offences which are punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more. The JJB has been provided with the option to transfer cases of heinous offences by such children to a children’s court (Court of Session) after conducting preliminary assessment.
In the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 a provision has been introduced for placing children in a ‘place of safety’ both during and after the trial till they get to the age of 21 years; after that an evaluation of “the child in conflict with law’ shall be conducted by the Children Court.
After the evaluation, according to the Act, the child will be released on probation, and if it is found that the child is not reformed then the child will be sent to a jail for remaining term. The Act has made it ample clear that the law is going to act as a deterrent for child offenders committing heinous offences such as rape and murder and will protect the victim’s rights.