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Juvenile Justice Act amendments approved by Union Cabinet – What are the new changes with JJ Act?

Juvenile Justice Act amendments approved by Union Cabinet – What are the new changes with JJ Act?


  • GS2 II Governance & Social Justice II Vulnerable Sections II Children & Child Labor

Why in the news?

Cabinet approves changes in Juvenile Justice Act to increase scrutiny of childcare homes, protect ‘abandoned’ children

Present Context:

  • The Union Cabinet approved amendments to the juvenile justice law to increase the scrutiny of child care institutions and enhance the role of district magistrates to ensure the set-up works in the best interests of children.
  • Addressing the media on the Cabinet decision, Women and Child Development Minister SmritiIrani said district magistrates (DMs) along with additional district magistrates (ADMs) will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the JJ Act in every district.

What is Juvenile Delinquency?

  • Juvenile Delinquency refers to participation of minors in illegal crimes. When a person deviates from the normal course of his social life his behavior is termed as delinquent.
  • In other words when a juveniles actions prove to be dangerous towards the society and for him, he may be called a juvenile delinquent. The act of delinquency may include running away from home, use of inappropriate or vulgar languages, committing sexual offences etc.

Historical Background of Juvenile Justice System India:

  • Prior to the Juvenile Justice Act 1986, enacted by the Parliament to provide care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation to neglected or delinquent juveniles, the Juvenile Justice Act, 1960 was operative throughout the country.
  • In India and hence, Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 was enacted. Later the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 came into force on 30th December 2000 as the primary legal framework for juvenile justice in India.
  • This act was further amended in 2006 and 2010. In the wake of Delhi gang rape (16th December 2012) this law suffered a nationwide criticism owing to its helplessness against crimes where juveniles get involved in heinous crimes like rape and murder but cannot be tried.
  • The Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014 was then passed by the Parliament in December, 2015and it became the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
  • It came into force from 15th January 2016. Under the Act of 1986, Section 2(a) defined the term juvenile is a “boy who has not attained the age of 16 years and girl who has not attained the age of 18 years”. Meanwhile, India signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), 1989, which treated a person as a juvenile who is below 18 years of age.

Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

  • Individual factors:
    • There are several factors in an individual that may lead to his delinquent behavior. A minor who has lower intelligence and has not received proper education is more likely to be involved in delinquent behavior.
    • Other factors may include impulsive behaviour, uncontrolled aggression, inability to delay gratification. Mental Health factors are also a part of individual factors. The mental state of an individual is extremely important for his behavior in the society. Thus, these factors can contribute to the involvement of a juvenile in harmful, destructive and illegal activities
  • Family Factors
    • Family factors may be inclusive of ongoing family feuds, neglect and abuse or absence of proper parental supervision.
    • Children whose Parents demonstrate lack of respect of law and social norms of the country may imbibe the same. Moreover, children that display the weakest attachments with their families appear to be the same juveniles who engage in inappropriate activities.
  • Substance abuse factors:
    • Substance abuse is found in a majority of juvenile delinquent cases. Juveniles today are using more powerful drugs than adolescents 10 years ago. Moreover, these children start consuming drugs at a younger age.
    • The use of these illegal or legal substances leads to these adolescents to engage in committing crimes. Additionally, when a child is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he is most likely to engage in destructive, harmful ad illegal activities.

Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency:

  • Required treatment to be given: Prevention is necessary for such children. Firstly, identification of such juveniles and then providing them with the required treatment is of utmost importance.
  • Family time is important: Adolescents become habitual offenders if not timely stopped from committing offences. Moreover, the most effective way to prevent juvenile delinquency has indubitably been to assist children and their families from the very beginning.
  • The State programs attempt at early intervention, allowing numerous groups to tackle this problem in a number of ways. There are many Jurists and criminologists who suggest various provisions for the prevention of juvenile delinquency.
  • Welfare and development program: Some of the provisions that are very useful for the welfare, development and growth of the juveniles have been mentioned below.
    • Individual Programs- It involves the prevention of delinquency through counselling, psychotherapy and proper education.
    • Environmental Programs- involves the employment of techniques with a view to change the socio-economic context likely to promote delinquency.

Stand of Indian Constitution:

  • Article 15(3), Article 39 clause(e) and (f), Article 45 and 47, force an essential duty of guaranteeing the necessities of kids and of securing their fundamental Human Rights. The General Assembly of United Nations received the Convention on Rights of the Child in November 1989 and laid the norms to be trailed by all part States in ensuring the enthusiasm of the kid. It additionally underscored on social reintegration of youngster casualties.
  • The Indian Penal Code Act, 1860 and Criminal Strategy Code, 1861 treating kid diversely through different methodology. Act XIX of 1850, 1876 reformatory schools act, the Borstal School Act, Children’s Act of 1920, and other state-specific legislation like Bengal Children’s Act, Madras Children’s Act to address neglected and deviant children’s these laws gave delinquents some special provisions regarding their Institutionalization and rehabilitation.
  • The primary formal enactment on adolescent equity in India came in 1850 with the Apprentice Act, 1850 which required that youngsters between the ages of 10-18 indicted in courts to be given professional preparing as a component of their recovery procedure. This demonstration was transplanted by the Reformatory Schools Act, 1897 along these lines gave that youngsters up to the age of 15 might be sent to the reformatory cell, and later the Juvenile Justice Act 1986 gave a uniform component of Juvenile Justice. This demonstration was supplanted by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.

Suggestions and Recommendations:

  • Children and protection had been accepted as the responsibilities of modern welfare. Through social welfare programs and the JJ Act, States have undertaken the responsibility of ensuring developmental opportunities to children living in conditions of want and showing signs of social maladjustment.
    • Formulation of Minimum Standards– A child cannot develop into a normal human being by the normal provision of food, shelter and clothing. It is necessary to formulate minimum standards of services for various community and institutional services for children under the JJ Act. The qualifications, salary structure, staff pattern, the architecture of the building, and other factors should be in accordance with the objective of providing alternative family care to the juveniles, ultimately leading to their rehabilitation in society.
    • National Commission for Children– A national commission for children’s welfare was suggested by the high-level committee constituted by the Supreme Court in a public interest petition for basic facilities for children engaged in the fireworks industry in Madras and Sivakasi in the early 1990s. The government has reiterated its desire to constitute one on several occasions subsequently, but one has still to be constituted.
    • Strategy for Change– Probation and other community-based programs cost less than institutionalization. They should also be preferred for their potential for ensuring better care and rehabilitation for juveniles. The state has paid some attention to children but other more demanding pressure groups and priorities deemed necessary have been able to divert the resources for their causes.
    • Special Training Programme-A special training program must be prepared and the officers of the Board including the Principal Magistrate should be given training of child psychology and child welfare.
    • Sports and Functional Programmes-For better welfare of juvenile games, sports and other functional programs may be organized in observation home and institution and encourage the juvenile to participate in these programs so they connect themselves with society. During festival seasons some cultural programs should be organized in the homes for the inmates with the assistance of voluntary organizations.
    • Education and Schooling– Schooling of the children in the homes up to the age of 14 should be made compulsory. They should be given the best of the facilities and opportunities like any Boarding school (hostel) making a course of moral science and civics compulsory for those who are in homes. For the welfare of juvenile, he must be allowed to go on leave and released on license during the examination so that he can continue with his studies. Sponsorships should be provided for the education of juveniles in good institutions. Personality enhancement courses should be organized.
    • Courses and Seminars-Orientation courses, seminars and awareness programs should be organized by government on juvenile justice on regular intervals to enable the functionaries to imbibe the message discussed and conveyed to them.
    • Providing Assistance-A social worker may be associated with the investigation made by the police officer. In the child cell, at least one lady police officer should be posted.
    • Needed Change-Unless a more effective lobby is generated for children, it may not be possible to bring about a change in the policy towards children whether for the purposes of finding resources or for implementing the statutory provisions or for a continuous review of policy and implementation patterns relating to children.


Children are all around us. They represent about a quarter of the world’s population. They are not equipped to defend themselves; they must depend on what is given to them. They are victims of circumstances. They bring us joy, they bring us tears, and they are our reason to hope. They are your children, they are my children and they are the children of the world. In India, one will find children starving for food, begging on the streets, deprived of basic necessities of life and such children amounts to almost half of the total children in the country. Now is the time when the intervention of the State is necessary for such matters.

Mains oriented question:

The problem of child abuse is serious because it forces the child to react or behave in such a way which is harmful to both society and him. Illustrate (250 words)