The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (hereinafter JJ Act, 2015), as passed by Parliament, received the assent of the President of India, on December 13, 2015 and is applicable to the whole of India. The gruesome rape in the Nirbhaya case, where one of the offenders was 17 years old, just 3 months short from attaining majority, fueled the concern that the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 was ill-equipped to deal with this new breed of delinquents, the so-called juvenile super predators. The policy elites, the media, as well as ordinary citizens, from all spectrums resorted to questioning the legitimacy of the juvenile legislation and the need for the adoption of stringent punishment, to act as a deterrent. The Parliament, under unprecedented scrutiny and criticism for its perceived inability to respond to the Juvenile menace, succumbed to the demand of some critics riding on the myth of super predators. Thus, the Parliament brought in the JJ Act, 2015 to make it easier to prosecute juveniles as adults. Under the existing framework, a child between the age of 16-18 years, alleged to have committed a heinous offence, may be transferred to an adult criminal court, known as children's court, to be tried as an adult. Section 15 of the JJ Act, 2015 is the most contentious provision, mandating the Juvenile Justice Board (hereinafter referred to as JJB) to transfer cases involving a child between 16-18 years, alleged to have committed a heinous offence, to a children's court. This decision is to be made by the Board on the basis of a preliminary assessment conducted to examine the child's capacity to commit such an offence. This Section casts an onerous obligation on the JJB to take the assistance of psycho-social workers, psychologists and other experts, in order to come to a conclusion regarding the mental capacity of the said accused. If the Board is satisfied in its preliminary assessment, then it may transfer the child to be dealt by the Children's Court, under Section 18(3).
The Mandate of Commission is to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes, and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the child rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC). The major functions of RSCPCR are to look into matters relating to children in need of special care and protection, children in conflict with law, juveniles and children without family; examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of most vulnerable children and children in need of special care and protection; undertake periodical review of existing policies, programmes and other activities on child rights and make recommendation for their effective implementation in the best interest of children; inspect any juvenile custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution meant for children for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection and take up with these authorities for remedial action for non-implementation of laws for protection and development of children.
The Protection Cell look after all the issues related to Child Protection.
- To review the implementation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2006, Child Trafficking and other issues related to protection of children.
- To review the functioning of homes meant for children in conflict with law and children who need care and protection.
- To develop strategies and a policy framework to strengthen the protective services available for children.
- To address gaps available in current child protection mechanisms.
- To evolve a legal framework in collaboration with Government to ensure the protection of children.
Initiative of RSCPCR:-
- Held several meetings with experts and government depts. on this issue to review the current scenario.
- Developed several guidelines and SOP’s on issues related to Child Protection.
- Issued several recommendations and advisories to the Government.
- Conducted several workshops and training programmes for various stakeholders on Child Protection.
- Initiated campaign with the support of NGO’s on prevention of child abuse.
- Reviewed the functioning of CWC’s, JJB’s and DCPUs and other structures.
- Visited several homes meant for children in various districts to issued advisories to improve the situation of homes.
Ensuring the proper rehabilitation of children who are living in homes.