Polity Notes

Juvenile Justice Act, 2015


Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Bill 2014 was introduced in Parliament by Mrs. Menaka Gandhi. Its aim is to replace the existing Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000, so that Juveniles in the age group to 16-18 years involved in heinous crimes such as rape, murder etc can be tried as adults. This Bill after passing by Parliament became Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act 2015 and has been implemented w.e.f. 15th January, 2016. Heinous offences are those which are punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more. However the maximum punishment under this Act is imprisonment up to 10 years.

It was passed by Lok Sabha on 7th May, 2015 and by Rajya Sabha on 22nd December, 2015. Only those minors will be included who has committed heinous crimes like murder & rape etc where they can get punishment of 7 years or more.

The act allow a Juvenile Justice Board which would include Psychologists & Sociologists to decide whether a Juvenile Criminal in the age group of 16-18 years should be tried as an adult or not. This act also makes the adoption process of orphaned, abandoned & Surrendered Children more streamlined.

A person giving alcohol or drugs to a child shall be punished with 7 years imprisonment and or Rs. One Lakh fine. Corporal punishment will be punishable by fine of Rs. 10000/- or 3 months of imprisonment. A person selling a child will be fined Rs. One Lakh and imprisonment for 5 years.

If a Juvenile between the age of 6-18 years commits a less serious crime and is caught by the police after attaining the age of 21 years, then he can be tried as an adult criminal.

Criticism of this Act

The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child requires all signatory Countries to treat every children under the age of 18 as equal. India is one of the signatory of this convention. The provision of trying a Juvenile as an adult contravenes the convention. Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor criticised the bill stating it as against the rights of children. Instead of trying a Juvenile as an adult, we should make necessary reforms in our society so that Juveniles do not involve in heinous crimes.

Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. Both must have at least one women member. The Juvenile Justice Board will conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether a Juvenile Offender is to be sent for rehabilitation or be tried as an adult. The CWC will determine institutional care for children in need of care & protection.