No child between 16 and 18 years of age in conflict with law will be handcuffed or sent to jail or lock-up, according to the draft rules of Juvenile Justice Act 2015 that was released on Wednesday.
The rules that were released by women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi released the draft rules detailing child-friendly procedures for police, Juvenile Justice Board and Children’s court to deal with children in conflict with law.
According to the draft rules, proper medical and legal aid will be provided to juvenile criminals and their parents and guardians will be duly informed.
“The Board and the Children’s Court are to adhere to the principle of best interest of the child and the objective of rehabilitation and reintegration of child in the society,” Gandhi said.
According to the rules, every state government is required to set up at least one ‘place of safety’ for the rehabilitation of such children. The rules prescribe for extensive services to be provided to such children through regular monitoring.
The rules were drafted by a multi-disciplinary committee comprising a senior judge and advocates, members of Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committee, representatives of state governments, mental health experts and civil society members.
Several new offences against children have also been included in the Act such as sale and procurement of children for any purpose, corporal punishment in child care institutions, use of child by militant or adult groups, giving children intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or tobacco products.
It also prescribes detailed procedures for determination of age. The JJB or Juvenile Justice Committee will determine the age of the child within 30 days from date of submission of application.
“Wherever medical opinion is required, same will be sought from a duly constituted medical board for which all government hospitals will constitute medical boards on permanent basis. Where medical boards give a range of age, the age of the child on lower side will be considered in order to give benefit to the child,” the official said.