Lok Sabha: Bill to amend Juvenile Justice Act introduced in the Lower House

New Delhi, Aug 12: The government on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Juvenile Justice Act that will allow treating 16-18-year-olds as adults when involved in heinous crimes. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Children) Bill 2014 was introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.

The amendment will empower Juvenile Justice (JJ) Boards to take a call on whether to treat 16-18-year-olds as adults if they are involved in heinous crimes. Such juveniles may face a jail term, if convicted, but will not be awarded life terms or the death penalty.

Currently, if an accused is determined to be a juvenile (under 18 years), he is tried by the JJ Board and, if convicted, is sent to a juvenile home for a period of three years.

The bill would enable other changes in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, including bringing in more clarity in the role and procedures of statutory structures such as Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards, and strengthening punitive measures for offences committed against children.

New offences such as corporal punishment, ragging and using a child for vending, peddling, carrying, supplying or smuggling any intoxicating liquor, narcotic drug or psychotropic substance and streamlining and strengthening measures for adoption, including providing statutory status to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have also been added.

The amended law makes it mandatory for all child care institutions to get registered or pay a stringent penalty in case of non-compliance.