Children below the age of 18 aren’t considered adults, and the approach towards them is pretty different. Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021. This bill strives to enhance and simplify the provisions for the preservation and adoption of children.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)

The bill shall also allow a Juvenile Justice Board to incorporate psychologists and social workers in the process of deciding whether a juvenile crime in the age range of 16–18 should be treated as an adult or not. The bill also intends to make the adoption process of orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children more simplified.

The bill was an amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and contains provisions related to children who have had estranged relationships with the law. It also revolves around children who need care and protection.

Reasons that went into opting for the Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill, 2021: 

Though there was an amendment brought into action in 2015, there was still a lack of certain reforms that were intended. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) audit of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in 2020, out of which 90% of which are run by NGOs, found out that a striking 39% CCIs were not registered. This was a big blow to the previously mentioned amendment.

Key amendments that were proposed by the bill. 

Non-cognizable Offences:

    1. Supervision of the district child protection unit.
    2. Conducting a quarterly review of the functioning of the child welfare committee.

To understand what led to the amendments of 2021, one needs to know what went down in the recent amendments made in 2015

Here’s an insight into the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015:

The Act changes the terminology from ‘juvenile’ to ‘child’ or ‘child in conflict with the law.’ This is done to remove the social stigma that revolves around the world “juvenile.” It aims at removing the negative connotation associated with the word “juvenile.” Several new and clear definitions are added to it, such as orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children. There are also petty, serious, and heinous offenses committed by children that are taken into account.

A separate new chapter was based on adoption to facilitate adoption procedures for orphan abandoned and surrendered children.

Child Care Institutions (CCI):

For all Child Care Institutions, whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organizations, it was made mandatory to be registered under the Act within six months from the date of commencement of the Act.

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