Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000

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The Juvenile Justice in India
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An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs, and by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation through various institutions established under this enactment.
Citation Act No. 56 of 2000
Territorial extent Whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir
Enacted by Parliament of India
Date assented to 30 December 2000
Date commenced 1 April 2001
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006 and 2011
Repealing legislation
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
Status: Repealed

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 is the primary legal framework for juvenile justice in India. The act provides for a special approach towards the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and provides a framework for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system. This law, brought in compliance of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), repealed the earlier Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 after India signed and ratified the UNCRC in 1992. This act has been further amended in 2006 and 2010. In the wake of Delhi gang rape (16 Dec 2012), the law suffered a nationwide criticism owing to its helplessness against crimes where juveniles get involved in heinous crimes like rape and murder. In 2015, responding to the public sentiment, both the houses of parliament in India further amended the bill that lowered the juvenile age to 16 and proposed adult-like treatment for juveniles accused of heinous crimes. The lower house, i.e. Lok Sabha passed the bill on 7 May 2015 and the upper house, i.e. Rajya Sabha on 22 December 2015. The bill was approved by President Pranab Mukherjee's assent on 31 December 2015.

The Act is considered to be extremely progressive legislation and the Model Rules 2007 have further added to the effectiveness of this welfare legislation. However, the implementation is a very serious concern even in 2013 and the Supreme Court of India is constantly looking into the implementation of this law in Sampurna Behrua Versus Union of India and Bachpan Bachao Andolan Versus Union of India. In addition to the Supreme Court, the Bombay and Allahabad High Courts are also monitoring implementation of the Act in judicial proceedings. In order to upgrade the Juvenile Justice Administration System, the Government of India launched the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in 2009-10 whereby financial allocations have been increased and various existing schemes have been merged under one scheme.

A separate petition titled Deepika Thusso Versus State of Jammu and Kashmir is also pending consideration before the Supreme Court on implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1997 which is applicable in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Based on a resolution passed in 2006 and reiterated in 2009 in the Conference of Chief Justices of India, several High Courts have constituted "Juvenile Justice Committees" headed by sitting judges of High Courts. These committees supervise and monitor implementation of the Act in their jurisdiction.

History of juvenile justice legislation in India[edit]

The original Juvenile Justice Bill only holds children between 7-17 legally responsible for their crimes, and are punished with a max of three years in rehabilitation centre, no matter the magnitude of the crime.

A revamped Juvenile Justice Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 7 May 2015 in the aftermath of the Delhi Rape Case of December, 2012 in which a minor was found guilty. The new bill will allow minors in the age group of 16-18 to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes. The crime will be examined by the Juvenile Justice Board to ascertain if the crime was committed as a 'child' or an 'adult'. [1][2]


The Ministry of Women and Child Development started contemplating bringing several desired amendments in 2011 and a process of consultation with various stake holders was initiated. A draft Bill in this regard was prepared and was pending before the Ministry of Law and Justice for scrutiny and put up on the official website of Ministry of Women & Child Development in June 2014 for public inputs. The Delhi gang rape case in December 2012 had tremendous impact on public perception of the Act. One of the convicts was found to be juvenile and sentenced to 3 years in a reform home.[3] Eight writ petitions alleging the Act and its several provisions to be unconstitutional were heard by the Supreme Court of India in the second week of July 2013 and were dismissed, holding the Act to be constitutional. Demands for a reduction of the age of juveniles from 18 to 16 years were also turned down by the Supreme Court, when the Union of India stated that there is no proposal to reduce the age of a juvenile.

In July 2014, Indian Express reported that Pakistan-based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Toiba had asked its members to declare their age to be below 18 years. This would ensure that they are tried under the Juvenile Justice Act instead of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The maximum punishment under the Act is three years.[4]

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