Priyanka Chaturvedi asks Smriti Irani to rectify Juvenile Justice Amendment Act

Published on Feb 20, 2022 10:09 AM IST

In a letter to union women and child development (WCD) minister Smriti Irani, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has alleged that the recent amendment made to the Juvenile Justice Act 2016 will have ‘adverse impact on children.’

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has said that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2021 classifies some ‘serious offences’ against children as ‘non cognisable’. (PTI)
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has said that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2021 classifies some ‘serious offences’ against children as ‘non cognisable’. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: Shiv Sena MP (member of Parliament) Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote to union women and child development (WCD) minister Smriti Irani asking to rectify a recent amendment made to the Juvenile Justice Act 2016, alleging that it will have “adverse impact on children.”

In July last year, Parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2021. The amendment classifies serious offences as “cognisable” and “non-cognisable” on the basis of duration of punishment. Here, serious offence means the ones that are punishable with imprisonment of more than three years but less than 7 years. Non-cognisable means the police cannot register an FIR without the special permission of the magistrate.

In her letter to Irani on Friday, Chaturvedi said, “I would like to bring your kind attention to my concern on the issue of recent amendment to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) (Hereafter referred as JJ Act) 2021 which classifies serious offences against children as non-cognisation.”

She alleged that the amendment will have adverse impact on children as it “shields the perpetrator”. “On one hand, the government talks of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, but on the other, it brings forward an amendment that will ensure no FIRs are registered in serious offences against children except with special permission from the judicial magistrate.”

“This recent amendment to the Act will have a devastating impact on children as it shields the perpetrators who employ and exploit children for begging, labour, and smuggling drugs. Unfortunately, none of these grave offences will now attract an FIR registration and automatic investigation because of the recent amendment,” she said.

“I am at loss to understand the rationale of the Government’s decision to classify even the sale and procurement of children and their use by militant organisations as non-cognisable. This catastrophic blunder would not have happened if the Government had engaged in meaningful pre-legislative consultation and examination by a select committee,” she added.

Urging Irani to rectify this amendment and restore the cognisable status of these offences, Chaturvedi said, “It is crucial to reduce the crime against children, but merely reducing the crime data by suppressing the registration of FIRs would only prove counterproductive and is a gross injustice to the Constitution and the children.”

HT has reached out to the WCD ministry for a response. This story will be updated with their response.

Anurag Kundu, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), said, “The amendment changes the classification of eight offences from cognisation to non-cognisation. This includes employment of children for begging, cruelty inflicted on children by the staff of children homes and use of children by militant groups. In none of these can the police automatically start the investigation.”

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