Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is India’s fundamental law in dealing with children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. It caters to their needs of care, protection, development, treatment and social reintegration, through its child-friendly approach by addressing the issues in the best interest of the children. The Act provides for a special approach towards the prevention and treatment of children in conflict with law and provides a framework for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system.
The most important and comprehensive children related laws in India is the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act or JJ Act because its implementation intersects with several other laws: relating to child labour, child marriage, child sexual abuse etc. as well as adoption. In fact, the systems and structures, most of which are in place at the district level are operating within the framework of the juvenile justice law in India.
By virtue of Section 109(1) and (2) of the JJ Act, 2015, the State Commissions are mandated to monitor the implementation of the provisions of JJ Act and inquire into any matter relating to any offence under this Act and to perform various functions in consultation with the State Government.
General Principles to be followed in Administration of the Act.
- Presumption of innocence
- Dignity and worth
- Best interest of the child
- Family responsibility
- Safety, Care and Protection
- Right to be heard
- Adopting positive measures for their well being
- Non-stigmatizing semantics, decisions and actions
- Non-waiver of rights
- Equality and non-discrimination
- Right to privacy and confidentiality
- Institutionalization as last resort
- Repatriation and restoration
- Fresh start by erasing past records
- Natural Justice
List of District level structures/ institutions and Authorities that are relevant for implementation of JJ Act 2015
- Child Welfare Committee
- Juvenile Justice Board
- Children’s Court
- Court of Sessions
- District Child Protection Unit
- District Level Inspection Committee
- An Officer in the rank of Deputy Superintendent, who is head of Special Juvenile Police Unit
- District Superintendent of Police
- Chief Judicial Magistrate/ Chief Metropolitan Magistrate
- District Magistrate
- District Judge
- District Child Protection Officer
- Chief Medical Officer
- Childline of the District
- Chief Probation Officer of District or Probation Officer of District
- District Legal Services Authority
- District Head of Prosecution Department
- Superintendents of various Child Care Institutions in a District
- Specialized Adoption Agency of District (SAA)
- District Heads of Railway Police (RPF & GRP)
- Two Social Workers appointed in District Level Special Juvenile Police Unit
- The institutions that house the children- the child- care institutions be it the children’s homes, observation homes or special homes- are also at the district level.
- Primary law for children in India
- Uniform age for both boys and girls – any child who has not completed the age of 18, comply with the CRC definition.
- Rehabilitation and social reintegration are the primary aims of the Act.
- Special provision for placing a juvenile in conflict with law under the charge of special juvenile police unit (SJPU)
- The Act also contemplates the effective involvement of informal social arrangements at the level of the family, voluntary organizations and the community.
- Child friendly juvenile justice system