The Rajya Sabha on July 28, 2021, passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2021, whereby improving the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children), Act, 2015. The Bill was previously passed in the Lok Sabha in March 2021.
The amendment of the Act was brought up after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in a study of children’s shelter homes in India found that over 7,600 children were being in poor living situations with no access to basic facilities.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2021 – Key points
Smriti Irani, Minister for Women and Child Development said:
•The Act emphasises changing the accountability to the district magistrates or additional district magistrates to take obligation for the well-being of vulnerable children in asylum homes across the country.
The district magistrates are now allowed to approve adoption applications under Section 61 of the Juvenile Justice Act thus beginning the method of adoption faster and more submissive with laws.
•The Act now also requests for all Child Care Institutions to be recorded in line with the guidance of the district magistrate.
•The Act also commits DMs with the duty to manage and assess the functioning of child welfare committees, district child protection units, specific juvenile police units, and juvenile justice boards.
•The Act has redefined the qualification parameters for the selection of CWC members. Moreover, the revised provisions of the Act have proposed rules for the exclusion of CWC members to secure the approval of people with integrity and requisite ability.
•Currently, the Act describes three categories of offences – petty, serious, and heinous. The amendment says that offences with a maximum sentence of more than 7 years imprisonment, but no minimum sentence, or a minimum sentence of fewer than 7 years is granted shall be interpreted as a serious offence under the Act.