Juvenile Justice (JJ) Amendment Bill 2021, proposes amendment in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, with the following objectives as described within the proposed bill itself:
(a) To strengthen child protection at district level by empowering District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to effectively coordinate and monitor the functions of various agencies responsible for implementation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act;
(b) To empower District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to authorise orders of adoption, in order to address issues of delay in adoption and to propose that appeals on the orders of adoption may be preferred to the Divisional Commissioner;
(c) To strengthen the Child Welfare Committee by incorporating provisions relating to educational qualifications for the members and stipulating eligibility conditions for selection of the committee.
(d) To categorise offences wherein maximum sentence is more than seven years imprisonment but no minimum sentence, or a minimum sentence of less than seven years has been provided as "serious offences" under the Juvenile Justice Act; and
(e) To remove difficulties in interpretation of the Juvenile Justice Act. Specifically the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (the Juvenile Justice Act) came into force with effect from the 15th January,
2016, by repealing the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, with a comprehensive provision for the children alleged or found to be in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection. The Juvenile Justice Act has been
made in pursuance of the Constitution of India which mandates equal rights for children and also mandates upon State, inter alia, to take suitable measures for protection of children. The Act also fulfils the India's commitment as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child, the United Nations Standard Millennium Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985 (the Beijing Rules), the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Inter-country Adoption (1993) and other related international instruments. The Juvenile Justice Act deals with “Petty”, “Serious” and “Heinous” categories of offences. Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Shilpa Mittal Vs. State of NCT of Delhi (Criminal Appeal No. 34 of 2020), vide its judgment dated the 9th January, 2020 has observed that the Juvenile Justice Act does not deal with the fourth category of offences viz., offence where the maximum sentence is more than seven years
imprisonment, but no minimum sentence, or minimum sentence of less than seven years is provided and treated the same as "serious offences" under the Act. District Magistrate, being the Chief Executive Officer in the District, is suitably placed to ensure effective coordination among the stakeholders for facilitation of necessary services for children's rehabilitation/re-integration. By further empowering District Magistrate to deal with child protection and adoption process, it aims to facilitate a coordinated and effective response of
District Administration to various issues pertaining to children, including adoption. The present proposed amendment by the government in JJ Act 2015 is a welcoming step which is simplifying the process and procedure for laymen along with the speedy disposal of the complaints. It will enhance the whole process and ensure justice.
By: – Shri. Roopenshu Pratap Singh, Adv