B. Sandeep Harish, III year B.A.,LL.B.
The term juvenile describes minor criminal offenders, the persons who are below is considered as a minor. On December 22, 2015, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was passed in the parliament which replaced Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The dynamic of Juvenile offenders is completely different from that of other offenders. Every child in this world is blessed with god, selfless and crime-free. Due to their bad surroundings, some children are involved in crimes and because of lack of maturity, they cannot differentiate the good act and bad act. According to the report submitted by the National Records Bureau 2015, of the total juveniles apprehended were 35448 juveniles and the crime committed by them was rape, murder, theft, robbery, culpable homicide and attempted murder. Most of the juveniles belong to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Bihar and Haryana. But the minor cannot punish like an adult, hence, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was implemented.
Salient features of the act
The act defines the child as a person who has not completed eighteen years of age. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act classifies the child into two categories, namely ‘child in conflict with law’ and ‘child in need of care and protection’.
2. Classification of offences
If a child between 16-18 groups of age commits a heinous crime he will treat as an adult. For a heinous offence, the imprisonment is a minimum of seven years. For a serious offence, the imprisonment is three to seven years and for a petty offence, the imprisonment is three years. Children should not be punished with the death penalty or life imprisonment.
After the Nirbhaya case, many voices raised that the person who is between 16-18 groups of age shouldn’t be treated as a minor. Therefore, special provisions were implemented to tackle heinous offences committed by an individual in the 16-18 age groups.
3. Children in need of care and protection
According to this act, Child Welfare Committees (CWC) should be set up in each district. The committee consists of a chairperson and four other members, includes a woman, ‘the children in need of care and protection’ includes:
1. A child working in harmful factories
2. A child at risk of getting married before attaining the lawful age, the lawful age for men is 21 and for women is 18.
3. A child who has threatened to injure, exploit, abuse or neglect the child
4. Child whose parents or guardians are unfit to take care of him or her
4. Juvenile Justice Board
According to this act, it is mandatory to set up a Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) in each district; the board consists of a magistrate and two social workers including a woman. The board will examine the crimes committed by a child within a specific period.
5. Children’s court
The court for children was established, it has the jurisdiction to handle the minor cases under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 or a Special Court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
6. Rights for adopting a child
The Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) will frame rules and regulations for adopting a child. According to their rules inter-country adoption was allowed, the adopted parents should be financially and physically strong, even a single or divorced person can adopt a child but a single man cannot adopt a girl. Physically disabled children will be given priority for adoption.
7. Trafficking children
According to this act, buying and selling of children are considered as an offence and the person was sentenced to jail up to five years or one lakh rupees fine or with both. Encouraging the children to take drugs attracts imprisonment up to seven years or one lakh rupees fine or with both.
8. Non-disclosure of identity
The media should not disclose the identity of juvenile offenders.
All the children in this world are good-hearted; they are involved in crime due to their bad surroundings. Some children didn’t have any guardian to guide them. Some children didn’t have money even to offer food to themself. These circumstances forced the children to become involved in crime. It was suggested that a good education and proper food should be provided to these children. The single or divorced person can come forward to adopt an aborted child. The children are the future pillar to our country, thus the government should take steps to prevent the children from crime.