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Issue With The Juvenile Justice Amendment Act, 2021

Issue With The Juvenile Justice Amendment Act, 2021:

The Juvenile Justice Act Amendment is making it harder to report abuse at child care institutions by making abuse and cruelty by staffers or persons in-charge at Child Care Institutions (CCI) non-cognisable.

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2021 was passed to amend various provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

Provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Amendment Act 2021:

  • Crimes against children which are mentioned in the chapter “Other Offences Against Children” of the JJ Act, 2015 that allow an imprisonment between three and seven years will be deemed “non-cognisable”.
  • The amendment provides strength to the provision of protection and adoption of children.
  • There are many adoption cases pending before the court and to make proceedings of the court faster now the power is transferred to the district magistrate.
  • Amendment provides that the district magistrate has the authority to issue such adoption orders.
  • The amendment under challenge is the one to Section 86 of the JJ Act, according to which crimes under the special law, with punishment between three to seven years, have been reclassified as non-cognisable.
  • While the victims themselves are unable to directly report them due to the imbalance in power, most such crimes are reported to the police by either parents or child rights bodies and Child Welfare Committees (CWC).
  • Parents of these Children: They are mostly daily wage labourers, are either unaware of how to, or not inclined to report the crimes to the police.
  • They do not want to engage with the legal process because that would force them to take time off from work, resulting in loss of wages.
  • Child Welfare Committees (CWC): CWCs’ first instinct in most cases is to “talk and arrive at a settlement” without having to escalate the matter to the police.
  • Making these crimes non-cognisable along with several other serious crimes under the special law would make reporting an offence to the police even more difficult.