The High Court has ordered all judicial magistrates to transfer the cases of juveniles in conflict with law to the newly created Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) having territorial jurisdiction to deal with such cases.
An order in this connection issued by the High Court on Friday reads: "All the CJMs and Judicial Magistrates shall ensure that the cases pertaining to the juveniles in conflict with law are transferred to the JJBs."
A 'juvenile' or a 'child' means a person who has not completed eighteenth year of his/her age and a "juvenile" in conflict with law means a juvenile who is alleged to have committed an offence and has not completed eighteenth years of age as on the date of the commission of such offence.
The Juvenile Justice System is designed to respond to the needs of these juveniles and children who are in need of care and protection.
In India this act was implemented in 1986 and since then many changes were suggested from time to time and finally a new Juvenile Justice Act was passed in 2000 to make it an effective law. After the 2010 unrest in Kashmir in which a large number of children were booked in incidents of stone pelting, the need for an observation home was felt in Kashmir where children below the age of 18 would be kept and counselled.
In 2011 a juvenile home was created, though in law there is no concept of creating a juvenile home. The law instead provides for creation of an observation home.
For two years the juvenile home was working without any rules that would govern its functioning. In 2013 the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 was created. The law provides for the development of the system to look after the children in need of care and protection as well as for the rehabilitation of the juvenile delinquents.
The law calls for the creation of observation homes, special homes, shelter homes, and children homes.
According to Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, juvenile in conflict with law cannot be prosecuted as adult criminals in court of laws. It is thus mandatory under this law to develop a process that helps to rehabilitate and make future lives of these children, free from stigma of past activities.
The provision of this act applies to all cases involving detention, prosecution, penalty or sentence of imprisonment of juveniles in conflict with law.
After setting up of a juvenile home, the act says, the government may, within a period of one year from the date of the commencement of the act, by notification in the government gazette, constitute for a district or a group of district or each division of the state one or more Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) for exercising the powers and discharging the duties conferred or imposed on such boards in relation to juveniles in conflict with law under the act.
The board should comprise of a judicial magistrate of the first class and two social workers and has the powers to deal exclusively with all proceedings under the act, relating to juveniles in conflict with law.