The government introduced the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 in Lok Sabha Tuesday.
The Bill aims to consolidate and amend the law relating to children found to be in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
The “increasing cases of crimes committed by children in the age group of 16-18 years in recent years makes it evident that the current provisions and system under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, are ill-equipped to tackle child offenders in this age group,” says the statement of objects and reasons for the Bill.
The Bill states that numerous changes are required in the existing Act to address these issues and the government proposes to repeal the existing Act and re-enact a comprehensive legislation to provide for general principles of care and protection of children. “This legislation would thus ensure proper care, protection, development, treatment and social re-integration of children in difficult circumstances by adopting a child-friendly approach keeping in view the best interest of the child in mind,” the Bill, piloted by Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi said.
Most importantly, the new Bill seeks to empower the Juvenile Justice Board to decide whether a juvenile aged between 16-18 years is to be tried in a regular court for having committed a heinous crime that carries a punishment of seven years or more.
However, according to the Bill, in no case can a juvenile be sentenced to death or life imprisonment either when tried under the provisions of J J Act or under the provisions of IPC.