Cabinet okays changes in Juvenile Justice Act

The amendments will empower DMs to issue adoption orders as well as monitor implementation of the law.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a slew of amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, empowering the District Magistrates (DM) to issue adoption orders as well as monitor the implementation of the law.

The amendments are aimed at “strengthening Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children”, according to a press statement. These include empowering the DMs and the additional DMs to monitor the functioning of agencies responsible for implementing the JJ Act. The District Child Protection Units will function under the DMs.

Before someone sets up a shelter home for children and sends their proposal for registration under the JJ Act to the State, a DM will have to assess their capacity and conduct a background check, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said at a press briefing.

A DM could also independently evaluate the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee, Special Juvenile Protection Units and registered childcare institutes, the Minister stated.

Members of committees

The proposed amendments also define the eligibility parameters for the appointment of members of the Child Welfare Committees, which decide on children in need of care and protection, and mandate their background checks.

It is also proposed to expand the definition of children in need of care and protection and include those children who have been victims of trafficking or drug abuse or child labour as well as those who have been abandoned by their guardians.

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