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Draft amendments to juvenile justice model rules published

Oct 29, 2021 05:45 PM IST

The draft amendments have been published three months after Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act

The union women and child development ministry on Thursday published the draft amendments to the juvenile justice model rules 2016 for ensuring greater scrutiny of child care institutions (CCIs) and stricter norms for the constitution of child welfare committees (CWCs). It has sought suggestions and comments from the stakeholders.

A representational image. Draft amendments to India’s juvenile justice model rules were published on Friday. (HT photo)
A representational image. Draft amendments to India’s juvenile justice model rules were published on Friday. (HT photo)

The draft amendments have been published three months after Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act. The rules have been revised in accordance with the amended law that increased the powers of district magistrates (DMs) and additional district magistrates (ADMs) in child care and adoption processes.

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The law permits them to issue adoption orders, a power that was formerly reserved only with the courts. This has been done to ensure speedy disposal of adoption cases and enhance accountability.

The rules have been drafted after taking suggestions from states, union territories, and child rights bodies including the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

According to the proposed amendments to the rules, the DMs and ADMs have been empowered to ensure smooth implementation of the amendment law and also independently evaluate the functioning of District Child Protection Units, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, Specialised Juvenile Police Units, Child Care Institutions, etc. The DMs may also be allowed to create a district-level juvenile justice fund.

Under the amended norms, the DMs have also been given the responsibility to take measures to expedite the process of adoption of children declared legally free for adoption by a CCI and the specialised adoption agencies.

The proposed rules say any CCI will be registered on the basis of the recommendations of the DM. “The DM will verify credibility, background and previous record of the Child Care Institution and the agency/individual promoting the institution and make specific recommendations to the state government for consideration,” say the draft rules.

To ensure greater scrutiny of CCIs, the amendments propose that in case any institute commits any offence under the law, the district child welfare committees or 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 institutions within seven days under intimation to the State Government,” the draft rules say. The seven-day time frame was not there earlier. The draft rules also propose that cameras should be installed at the key positions in all CCIs.

The proposed amendments lay down strict norms for the composition of the CWCs. Anyone having past record of violation of human or child rights or child abuse or employment of child labour, or immoral act, etc will be ineligible for selection as a member of the committee.

“Any person responsible for receiving foreign contributions in individual capacity or in an organisation, shall not be eligible to be a chairperson or member of the committee,” the proposed rules say.

The ministry has published the draft rules on its website and asked the stakeholders to send suggestions and comments regarding them by November 11.

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