Juvenile Justice Act
- November 17, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Juvenile Justice Act
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that an accused, declared a juvenile in the case of the gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua in J&K in 2018, was an adult at the time of the offence and should, therefore, be tried as one.
What was the issue:
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that one accused in the 2018 alleged Kathua rape-cum-murder case has to be tried as an adult, and not as a juvenile,
- Since the medical opinion has to be given precedence in absence of any other conclusive proof.
- The bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and J B Pardiwala set aside an order by the Jammu and Kashmir Court order of Kathua to treat the accused as juvenile.
- The court’s judgement came on an appeal by the Jammu and Kashmir government which claimed that the High Court had erroneously affirmed the order of a trial court holding the accused to be a minor.
What is Juvenile Justice Act 2015:
- It was introduced and passed in Parliament in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000.
- The Act seeks to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children as ratified by India on December 11, 1992.
- It allows the trial of juveniles in conflict with the law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults, in cases where the crimes were to be determined.
- The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board.
- The Act streamlined adoption procedures for orphans abandoned and surrendered children.
- The act had introduced foster care in India.
- The existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
- The law had also made provision that while adopting a child,priority is given to disabled children and physically and financially incapable
- Special provisions have been made to tackle child offenders committing heinous offences in the age group of 16-18 years.
- The Juvenile Justice Board is given the option to transfer cases of heinous offences by such children to a Children’s Court e Court of Session after conducting the preliminary assessment.
What is Juvenile Justice Board:
- This is a judiciary body before which children detained or accused of a crime are brought.
- This acts as a separate court for juveniles since they are not to be taken to a regular criminal court.
- The Board comprises a judicial magistrate of the first class and two social workers, one of whom at least should be a woman.
- The Board is meant to be a child-friendly place and not intimidating for the child.
What does the law say on trying a juvenile as an adult:
- According to Section 15 of The Juvenile JusticeAct (JJ Act), where a child of 16 years of age or above has committed a heinous offencee a crime for which the minimum punishment is seven years imprisonment,then the Juvenile Justice Board is required to “conduct a preliminary assessment with regard to his mental and physical capacity to commit such offence, ability to understand the consequences of the offence and the circumstances in which he allegedly committed the offence” before taking a decision whether the child needs to be tried as an adult.
- The assessment is required to be done within three months from the date of first production of the child before the Juvenile Justice Board