Juvenile justice board
Authored by Muskan Jain
Keywords: Juvenile, child protection, rehabilitation, reformation, JJB.
Juveniles convicted of a crime or arrested for a crime are brought before the Juvenile Justice Board (Hereinafter as JJB) the Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of Children) Act 2000 (amended in 2006). Under this Act and the provisions of the Criminal Code, children shall not be brought before a regular criminal court. The object of a separate court is that it aims at socio-legal rehabilitation and reformation, not punishment. The goal is to keep a child responsible for his or her illegal behaviour, not through punishment, but through counselling the child to recognise his or her conduct and to encourage him or her to avoid illegal activity in the future.
In view of the fact that JJS seeks to make the youth in conflict with the law as a valuable member of society and seeks to rehabilitate them, the juvenile justice system is fundamentally different from the criminal justice system. The juvenile justice system has included numerous stakeholders such as the police, the probation officer, the juvenile justice board, the NGO’S, activists, state and central government. Their function and role in the delivery mechanism for juvenile justice is important. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Safety of Children) Act, 2000 makes it mandatory for each district to have one Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to deal with issues related to juveniles in conflict with the law.
In this Article, we will study about the Juvenile Justice Board.
JUSTICE JUVENILE BOARD
The Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of students) Act, 2015 (Hereinafter JJ Act, 2015) is a new legislation repealing the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. One of the main reasons for the introduction of this act was to deal with the commission of heinous crimes by juveniles aged 16-18 years. This creation is coming after the controversial Mukesh & Anr. vs. State of the Delhi and Ors NCT(The Nirbhaya case).
Traditional criminal law classified juveniles as 'delinquent or abused children' and continued to punish them as criminals; however the current law aims at improving the justice system for convicts. The Juvenile Justice Board is an administrative body formed defined in section 4 of the JJ Act, 2015. The Juvenile Board of Justice has the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with children's problems in conflict with the law. This is an effort to bring about a change in the essence of the investigation and to decriminalise the administration of juvenile justice through the involvement of the two social workers.
After the crime has been committed and the infant has been captured, the case falls before the JJB. Until the investigation is carried out, the child shall be detained in the observation home, unless otherwise specified for it in the law. Upon arrest, the child is sent to a special home or place of protection. According to the division of powers, the subject of the administration of criminal justice has been included in the State List (List II, Schedule VII) of the Constitution of India.
Therefore, for each district, one or more Juvenile Justice Board(s) shall be formed by the Government of the State. The Board shall exercise its powers and perform the functions relating to 'child in conflict with the law' as specified in Section 2(13) of this Act. The procedure in relation to the Board has been defined according to Section 7 of the Act. It is the Board's responsibility to ensure that all processes are child-friendly and that the location is not intimidating.
Any child whose at conflict with the law can not be be kept in police lock-up or prison under any circumstances. The Supreme Court argued that the Juvenile Justice Boards should not be 'silent spectators' in the case Re: Exploitation of children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu vs. Union of India and Ors
The amendment made to the JAA, 2000 in the year 2006 mandates the constitution of the JJB in each district. The board should be composed of:
· Principal Magistrate
· Two social workers of whom at least one shall be a women.
· Ensure the informed involvement of the child and the parent or guardian in the process;
· Ensure the security of children's rights in the course of detention, prosecution, post-care and recovery of children
· Ensure the provision of legal assistance to children through various legal services institutions
· Provide the child with a competent interpreter or translator if he / she does not understand the language in the course of the proceedings
· Directing the Probation Officer / Child Protection Officer / Social Worker to conduct a social inquiry into the case. In addition, they are directed to send the report to the Board within 15 days from the date of the first output.
06 Adjudication and disposal of cases involving children in dispute with the law in compliance with the protocol referred to in Section 14;
07 Referring matters to the Committee in situations where the child is suspected to have been in conflict with the law but is said to be in need of care and safety at any stage of the proceedings.
Disposing of the matter and passing a final order which should include an individual care plan for the child’s rehabilitation. This also includes follow-ups by officers or an NGO.
Undertaking a routine inspection of adult prisons to verify whether any child is being held in such jails.
Emergency steps for the transfer of an infant identified in adult prisons to an observation home.
Any other role which may be recommended by the Board.
The Board formed for any district shall have the power to deal solely with the proceedings pursuant to the Act:
· In the area of authority of the Agency,
· In matters involving children that are in dispute with the law.
The Board is also empowered to investigate hate crimes under Section 15 of the Act. Such preliminary evaluation must be finalised within a period of 3 months from the date of the child's first birth before the Board of Directors.
In the case of the Puneet S. vs. State of Karnataka (2019 SCC OnLineKar 1835), the High Court of Karnataka held that only the Juvenile Justice Board had the power to decide whether or not the offence committed by a juvenile is heinous.
If some statute is in effect for the time being, JJB has sole authority to deal with juveniles in conflict of law. The powers that the High Court or the Court of Session may exercise in dealing with appeals or revision.
In Sant Das vs. State of Up, 2003 CriLJ, 3424case, the court held that the magistrate concerned has authority to deal with the juvenile case if JJB is not constituted, and the appeal would go before the Session Judge.
Tenure of the members of Board
There is general tenure for a period of 3 years. For a maximum of two consecutive terms, members can be appointed.
Termination of the member of Board
With regard to termination of the representatives, it will be determined by the State government after conducting the enquiry if:
· He has been found guilty of abuse of power.
· He was convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and no such case was dismissed or a full pardon was issued for such an offence.
· He fails to attend the board's proceedings without any legitimate reason for 3 consecutive months or he fails to attend less than a third-fourth of sessions in the year.
The criminals were tackled in a strict and severe manner in traditional law. The trend of imprisoning teenagers with violent criminals contributed to more social disorder and destruction. The involvement of children in illegal activity is affected by many factors, such as poverty, unemployment, broken families, lack of parental control, etc. The new legislation provides a response to these factors through the procedure of reformative justice.
It acknowledges the fact that children require special care and protection instead of treating them in the same manner which led to their engagement in criminal activities. The Juvenile Justice Board aims to deal with such children in conflict with the law in the best possible manner so that they can be integrated into society as a contributing member at a later stage. The law reasonably safeguards the interests of the children.
The Juvenile Justice Board must include, besides the trained magistrates, two social workers, i.e. experts in health, education and welfare having seven years of experience. Taking some of the burden of government, voluntary organisations and social workers have been empowered to run children’s/shelter homes and drop-in-centres and even manage observation and special homes for offenders. They can conduct enquiries and run probation services. The vision of ‘re-integration and rehabilitation’ can be made real only through linkages between social organisations, police and the State.
Foot Notes: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/68696327/ https://www.shareyouressays.com/knowledge/constitution-of-the-juvenile-justice-board-section-4/119395#:~:text=As%20per%20Rules%204%20to,Section%204%20of%20the%20Act. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/555852/ https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1510082/#:~:text=(1)%20When%20any%20Magistrate%20not,such%20opinion%20and%20forward%20the https://www.vidhiwise.in/case-law-re-exploitation-of-children-in-orphanages-2/ https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1448957/ https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1341633/