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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Juvenile Justice Act changes cleared: DMs to check child shelters before nod

According to the amendments, before anyone becomes a member of the child welfare committees (CWC), their background and educational qualification will be checked, Smriti Irani said.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 18, 2021 1:26:55 am
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani (L) during a press conference on cabinet decisions, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (PTI Photo/ Shahbaz Khan)

THE GOVERNMENT on Wednesday approved amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, increasing the role of district magistrates and additional district magistrates in implementation of the law. The decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said that in every district, the district magistrate and the additional district magistrate will get the power to monitor functions of agencies responsible for implementation of the Act. The district child protection unit will also function under the district magistrate, she said.

Currently, there is no specific direction to carry out a background check of people who are to become members of the child welfare committees (CWC), Irani said. According to the amendments, before becoming a member of the CWC, background and educational qualification will be checked, she said.

Irani said earlier any organisation which wanted to run a child care institution would need to give its purpose to the state government. Following the amendments, before registration of such an institution, the district magistrate will conduct its capacity and background check and then submit the recommendations to the state government, the minister said.

The district magistrate can independently evaluate a specialised CWC, juvenile police unit and registered institutions.

The scope of the Juvenile Justice Act has also been expanded. Child victims of trafficking and drug abuse and those abandoned by their guardians will be included in the definition of “child in need of care” and protection, Irani said.

At present, the Act has three categories of petty, serious and heinous crimes. “One more category will be included that offences where the sentence is more than seven years but no minimum sentence is prescribed or a minimum sentence of less than seven years is provided shall be treated as serious offences under the Act,” Irani said

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