The new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
has come into effect from January 15 meaning that those selling cigarette or chewable tobacco to youth under the age of 18 will get a maximum jail term of up to seven years. They will also have to pay a hefty fine of Rs 1 lakh.
The Act was cleared by Parliament
The new provisions shield the underage people (16-18 years) from the harmful effects of smoking and tighten the noose around those selling pan masala, gutka and cigarettes to children.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 1 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (2 of 2016), the Central Government hereby appoints the 15th day of January, 2016 as the date on which the said Act shall come into force,” notified the Ministry of child and women development
on January 12.
Representational Image india.blogs.nytimes
It is for the first time that the government has made providing cigarette or chewable tobacco products to children under 18 years a serious criminal offence.
The current Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Product Act prohibits the sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to people below 18 years and in areas within a 100- metre radius of educational institutions. The penalty involves a fine of Rs 200 and up to three months in jail.
The new act also permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences. The Act also allows that any 16-18-year-old who commits a less serious offence may be tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21 years.
The lowering of the age from the existing 18 years means that those aged 16 and above will no longer be protected under the Juvenile Justice law, under which juveniles cannot be tried under the normal law of the land that provides punishment of up to death for rape and murder. Under the juvenile law till now, even those accused of heinous offences like rape could be tried only by Juvenile Justice Boards and, if found guilty, could not be jailed for more than three years.
The demand for reducing the age for trying juveniles for heinous crimes was made following the December, 2012, Delhi gangrape case.
The Act, passed by the Rajya Sabha in the winter session of Parliament, has received President Pranab Mukherjee’s assent on December 31.