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Claim of Juvenility: A security for Ever


Dr. Malvika Singh

Children are the future of a nation. Therefore, they are to be protected against exploitation and provided with all the facilities to grow in a healthy environment. For those unfortunate ones who come in conflict with the law or who are orphans and deserted or abandoned by the parents, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 provides a complete scheme of doing justice and ensuring care and protection. A claim of juvenility is a very important and relevant concept in the juvenile justice system. The concept envisages eternal security for the children below 18 years of age. This security is a guarantee that all children get due care and protection, as they are entitled to under the provisions of the juvenile justice laws. Children can claim juvenility before any court and at any stage of the proceedings under the JJ Act 2015. The claim of Juvenility is a shield available to all children against the rigor of criminal justice processes as well as provides them a protective umbrella against all moral and material abandonment.

Introduction

As per Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India, State can make special provisions for the welfare of children. Article 39(f) enshrined in Part IV of the Constitution enjoins the State to make policies for children in order to give them opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. Childhood is to be protected against all kinds of exploitation. In fulfilment of the constitutional mandate and international commitment, and being signatory to United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child 1992, United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice 1985, United Nations Rules for Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty 1990, the Havana Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Inter-country Adoption 1993 and other related international instruments, Indian Parliament enacted the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (56 of 2000). The Act was repealed and another consolidated Act namely The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (2 of 2016), called JJ Act 2015 hereinafter, replaced it. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2016 (JJ Rules 2016) were framed under the JJ Act 2015. Both these documents provide a comprehensive scheme of Juvenile Justice and for Care and Protection of Children.It would be worthwhile to examine the concept of a claim of juvenility contained therein and explore the protective cover offered by it.

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Act No. 2 of 2016

Section 2(13) of the JJ Act, 2015

Nirbhaya (name changed), a girl was gang-raped and murdered brutally in Delhi in December 2012. One of the accused in this case was a juvenile

Act No. 56 of 2000.

Supra note 1

Sections 14,15,19 and 20 of the JJ Act, 2015.

Vide GSR 898, dated 21 September 2016 published in the Gazette of India, Extra, Pt. II, Section 3(i) dated 21st September 2016.

Act No. 2 of 1974

JJ Act 2015

Section 6(2), JJ Act 2015