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Discuss the salient features of Juvenile Justice Act of 2000.

The first central legislation on Juvenile Justice was passed in 1986, by the Union Parliament,
providing a uniform law on juvenile justice for the entire country. Prior to this law each state
had its own enactment on juvenile justice with there being differences in the way juveniles
were treated by different state legal systems. The Juvenile Justice Act was thus passed to
provide care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or
delinquent juveniles and for the settlement of certain matters related to and disposition of
delinquent juveniles.
There are certain guiding principles which need to be adhered to in the administration of
juvenile justice and they form the basis on which the Act and the Rules are formed. The
juvenile justice functionaries should abide by the following fundamental principles in order
to understand the Act, interpret according to the situation in which the child is taken into
custody and most importantly contribute to better and effective implementation of the Act.
Principles to be followed in administration of the rules:

Principle of presumption of innocence

Principle of dignity and worth
Principle of Right to be heard
Principle of Best Interest
Principle of family responsibility
Principle of Safety (no harm, no abuse, no neglect, no exploitation and no
Positive measures to promote wellbeing of the child, reduce vulnerabilities and aim at
development of childs identity
Principle of non-stigmatizing semantics, decisions and actions
Principle of non-waiver of rights
Principle of equality and non-discrimination
Principle of right to privacy and confidentiality
Principle of last resort
Principle of repatriation and restoration
Principle of Fresh Start

When these principles are adhered to in letter and spirit, it would certainly ensure that
every child who comes into contact with the JJ System is assured safety, care, protection
and justice.
The new bill is an improvement over the existing JJ Act, 1986. Many changes have been
introduced within the existing Act without changing the Act altogether. The changes brought
about the new Bill child friendly and more participatory. The salient features of Juvenile
Justice Act, 2000 are highlighted below:
1. The terms such as "Delinquent" and "Neglected' have been substituted with the term
"Juvenile in conflict with the Law" and "Children in need of care and protection".
Hence the title of the Bill has been given as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection
of the Children) Bill.
2. The preamble of the Bill has been expanded to take care of the development needs
and rehabilitation by adopting a child friendly approach in the adjudication and
disposition of the matter in the best interest of the children. The bill is based on

Constitutional provisions including clause (3) of article 15, clauses (e & f) of article 39,45,

Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989

United Nations Standards Minimum Rule for Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985 (Beijing

United Nations rules for protection of Juvenile deprived of their liberty, 1980.
3. The competent authority for dealing with the Juvenile in conflict with the law has
been termed as Juvenile Justice Board and that of children in need of care and
protection as Juvenile Welfare Committee. The Board is vested with magisterial
powers as it deals with children who have not committed any offence.
4. The Bill provides grounds for termination of a member of the Board as well as the
5. Qualification of a member to be appointed on the Board or the Committee has been
specified to avoid the political nominee who generally do not have genuine interest in
the field.
6. Bill makes provision for the transfer of government run homes to NGOs.
7. The social organizations and social workers or a child himself have been empowered
to receive and produce the children before the Board and Committee, as a case may
be beside the police.
8. The provision of social auditing to monitor and to evaluate the Children Home
through outside person and institution has been made.
9. The Homes for Children in need of care and Protection have been converted into
comprehensive Homes from where the restoration can take place as is presently
done in Observation Homes. The children not restored shall continue to live on till
they attain the age of 18 years. This will be explicit in the model rules.
10.Bill prescribes a uniform age of 18 years for both boys and girls.
11.A new chapter (for rehabilitation and reintegration) has been added bringing in the
adoption, foster care, sponsorship and linkage and coordination between social
organizations into the fold of the Bill to provide alternative mode of rehabilitation.
12.There is a provision for constituting central, state, district and city advisory boards
consisting of member's from Panchayat, Zila Parishad, Municipal corporation and
social workers etc. which is a new dimension for the local people participation.
13.Efforts have been made to give the Bill, as much as possible, an independent legal
status. The role of the state has also been minimized by vesting powers directly to
local self-government, NGOs and social workers. The role of the State is limited to a
facilitator rather than doer by involving voluntary sector and local bodies.
14.In the definition of children in need of care and protection, new categories like street
children without any settled place or abode, children living with persons who are
likely to be killed or abused, mentally or physically challenged or ill children or
children suffering from terminal diseases or incurable diseases having no one to
support or look after, abandoned children, likely to be grossly abused, tortured or
exploited for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal Act.
15.Children vulnerable to Drug abuse and trafficking and children victim of armed
conflict, civil commotion or natural calamity have been added.
16.Special Juvenile Police Units with a humane approach through sensitisation and
training of a Police personnel have been incorporated.
17.The use of adversarial or accusatory vocabulary such as "Remand", "Accused",
"Trial", "Prosecution", "Warrant", "Summons", "Conviction", "Inmates", "Court", etc.
have been deleted in the new Act.
18.In the two kinds of Homes under this Act, the Home for Children in need of care and
protection is now open to media, since there is no stigma attached to these children
and Homes. The Sec. 36 in the old JJ Act prohibiting the publication of photographs
and the names of the children under inquiry shall now apply only to children who
come in conflict with the law under the new Act.
19.A provision for a fresh start/ new beginning for the juvenile/ child by ensuring erasure
of records shall be made in the model rules.
20.A provision in the model rule shall be made for free legal aid rather than professional
in attire pleading the juvenile case before the Board. This often leads to linger the
prolonging of a case for years.

21.The model rules shall also provide care and protection for foreign children before they
are repatriated through procedural arrangements.
22.Under the new Act, a speedy disposal of cases within 4 months has been assured.
23.The new Act vests Magisterial Powers to the Committees, which shall function as the
bench of the Magistrate. The individuals of the Committee however shall not have
magisterial powers under the New Act.
24.While individual members of the Committee or Board can grant permission to
take/place the Child in safe custody but the final disposition shall have the signature
of at least two members of the Committee/ Board as the case may be.
25.Besides Children's Homes, provisions for a new kind of Homes called Shelter Homes,
has been made in the Act. The shelter home shall function as Drop-in- Center for
children in need of urgent support.
26.The qualification of the individual to be eligible to be appointed as a member of the
Board has been specified as having knowledge and training in child psychology and
child welfare or a social worker have in seven years experience under the new Act.
The same provisions are likely to be drawn for the members of the Committee under
the model rules. This will help in avoiding political nominee.
27.Provisions for five days in a week sitting of the Committee/Board shall be made under
the model rules. This will draw only the committed and motivated person into the
Board Committee.
28.A clause for the removal of a member of the Board Committee has also been added
to ensure proper functioning.