NEW DELHI: The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has demanded that the Centre amends the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2021 which was amended and passed last year. In the 2021 amendment, offences against children that have punishment of more than three years and less than seven years (serious offences) were made non-cognizable.
Non-cognizable means no FIR without special permission of a judicial magistrate, the onus of which is on the aggrieved. Police can only record general diary entries, not FIR and no FIR means no automatic investigation.
The DCPCR appealed for restoring the cognizability of serious offences and also not to notify the date of enforcement. Chairperson of DCPCR, Anurag Kundu addressed a session and discussion on JJ Act on Wednesday at Constitution Club of India. He said the 2021 amendment will hurt SCs, Muslims, transgenders and economically weaker sections because they cannot navigate the complex judicial system and afford advocates.
The Centre had made seven serious offences non-cognizable in 2021. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 is called Juvenile Justice Act or JJ Act 2015. This is the statute that governs management of children homes, offences against children and when children come in conflict with the law.
Sanjay Singh, AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP, said, “The amendment barring police to register FIR and automatic investigation into serious offences against children is devastating and should immediately be corrected. I have moved a private member Bill in Rajya Sabha in this regard, and I hope it will generate a much-needed debate on this issue.”
Renowned human rights advocate Vrinda Grover said, “The 2021 amendments are in defiance of the letter and spirit of the JJ Act. The stated objective of JJ Act is to ensure the best interest of the child. The reclassification of offences punishable up to seven years as non-cognizable offences violatse the Constitution.”
Government of India made seven serious offences ‘Non-cognizable’
Section 75: Inflicting cruelty on children by children home staff
Section 76: Employing children for begging
Section 77: Giving intoxicating liquor or drug or substance to children
Section 78: Using children for drug peddling or smuggling
Section 79: Exploitation of child employee
Section 81: Sale & procurement of children (except for trafficking/prostitution purposes which continues to be cognizable offence under IPC)
Section 83: Use of children by militant groups for legal or illegal purposes