PUCL Bulletin, June 2001

Changes proposed to the Juvenile Justice bill

The Tamil Nadu NGO Forum wanted to recommend some alterations to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2000 after consultation with Non Governmental Organisations. They arranged for a consultation meeting for two days. The meeting was held at Trichy on 5.2.2000. 46 persons participated in the meeting. Among the participants, 45 persons were members and office bearers of various NGOs. Though I am not a member of any NGO I was also invited as I had participated and lectured about child rights, Human Rights, Child Development etc., in various meetings of various NGOs.

At the time of the meeting the bill had been passed by the parliament and had become an ACT with the consent of the President of India.

Many participants suggested the following opinions:

  • Police should not arrest and take care of the children.
  • NGOs should be given much importance in the implementation of the Act.
  • Children Homes and special Homes should be maintained by the NGOs.

In many lecture I explained the following points.

  • Definition and importance of children:
  • Treatment and punishment of delinquent children during the ancient period (before A.D.), middle age and modern age.
  • Laws brought to force during 19th and 20th century for treatment of Juvenile delinquents (Viz Indian Penal Code), Reformatory
  • School Act 1876, Madras Children Act 1920, Children Acts of various provinces and States, central children Act 1960, Juvenile
  • Justice Act 1986 and the Juvenile Justice Act 2000).

I offered the following suggestions for amendment of Juvenile Justice Act 2000:

  • Sec 2 (K): Two words Viz juvenile and child are defined. One word, either Juvenile or child should be defined and used in the Act.
  • Sec 12: The word "arrested" should be altered as "taken" into custody".
  • Sec 4 (2) and Sec 29 (2): The following qualifications should be prescribed for the non official members of Juvenile Justice Board and Child welfare committee.
    a) Age: 25 years
    b) Educational qualification - at least a graduate.
    c) Should have knowledge of psychology, sociology and child welfare.
    d) Should be a person of exemplary character.
    Sec 33: The report of the probation officer should be obtained and considered before taking a decision by the Juvenile Justice Board and child welfare committee.
  • Sec 35 and 58: State level Inspection committees and Advisory Board only are necessary. These committees and Boards at District and city level are not necessary.
  • Sec 37: Shelter Homes are not necessary. Child welfare Homes may be entrusted with voluntary organisations.

-- S Muthuswamy, Dwaraka, 2 Jeyanagar, Tirunelveli, TN

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