WCD Ministry invites suggestions on draft amendments to juvenile justice rules

PTI, Oct 28, 2021, 5:40 PM IST

Credit: Pixaby Photo

The Women and Child Development Ministry has invited suggestions from all stakeholders on draft amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules, 2016 which include provisions for increasing the role of district magistrates and additional district magistrates on issues concerning child care and adoption.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules are being revised according to the recently passed Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2021.

The amendments include authorising district magistrate, additional district magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.

The district magistrates have been further empowered under the Act to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergised efforts in favour of children in distress conditions. According to the amended provisions of the Act, any Child Care Institution shall be registered after considering the recommendations of the district magistrate.

The DM shall independently evaluate the functioning of District Child Protection Units, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, Specialised Juvenile Police Units, Child Care Institutions, etc.

According to the draft amendments, when any offence under the Act is committed by a Child Care Institution including a Specialised Adoption Agency, the Committee or the Board may pass appropriate orders for placing the children in any other institution or agency and recommend the cancellation of the registration and withdrawal of recognition of such institution or agency to the DM.

”The DM including ADM may ensure transfer of children and closure of guilty institution within 7 days under intimation to State Government,” it said.

In earlier rules, the provision of 7 days time frame was not there.

The draft amendments also propose that “Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System”, an online system for facilitating and monitoring the adoption programme, may be deleted to give flexibility to the Centre to create a new portal in near future.

The amendments also propose that the DM shall maintain oversight on actions taken with respect to child marriage cases and facilitate action for education and awareness regarding impact of child marriage on children.

The person-in-charge of a child care institution has been termed as ‘home manager’ under the draft amendments.

The amendments also call for necessary orientation/training of staff to make it aware of what constitutes abuse, neglect and maltreatment, and their early indication and how to respond to these abuses.

The amendments also propose that the DM shall maintain an oversight and may direct police to make special arrangements to prevent children from getting associated/affected by drug peddlers.

A new clause has been included that when a child refuses to go back to the family or the family refuses to take back the child due to reasons of financial constraints, the district magistrate shall explore all possibilities of providing all central and state sponsored schemes as per their eligibility to strengthen the family financially for restoration of the child to the family in the best of the child.

The district magistrate can also submit a proposal to states for seeking funds from the state fund for implementing projects for children in the district regarding any of the activities mentioned under this rule, which may be allocated if the proposal is found suitable and outcome oriented.

The draft amendments also said that in extraordinary situations, when the movement of the child or the committee is restricted due to unforeseen circumstances, the child may be presented before the committee through virtual mode, under intimation to the DM.

Under the amendment draft, the Child Welfare Board shall submit a six monthly situational analysis report to the DM regarding the types of crime committed by children in the district, plausible reasons for such actions, along with their suggestions and recommendations.

Two new rules have been inserted according to which the DM and the ADM may make recommendations for action against the Board or any of its members to the district judge in case of any complaint against the Board or Board member received and verified by the DM.

”The District Judge shall consider the complaint and take action upon it within one month. The DM shall be intimated in this regard,” it said.

Another rule has been inserted according to which the District Child Protection Unit shall intimate DM regarding the pendency and status of such cases on a regular basis.

It has to be ensured that no person shall be eligible for selection as a member of the committee, if it has any past record of violation of human rights or child rights, has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and has been removed or dismissed from service of the Centre or state or an undertaking or corporation owned or controlled by the Government of India or State Government, the draft amendments said. Earlier, these criteria were not there.

The WCD Ministry has invited suggestions and all the stakeholders are requested to offer their comments on the rules by November 11.

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