According to the latest draft model rules for the juvenile justice law, police can no longer register an FIR against under-age offenders who are accused of minor offences.
Though the draft does give them liberty to do so if the crime attracts imprisonment that is more than seven years and if the crime has been committed jointly with adults.
The latest draft of the juvenile justice law was unveiled by the Union Women and Child Development (UWCD) minister Maneka Gandhi on May 25, who said that this new child-friendly provisions will be part of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The said Act was passed by the Indian Parliament last year in December 2015.
Maneka added that barring crimes for which an FIR can be registered, all other juvenile related cases would be handled by the special juvenile police unit.
These child welfare police officers will in turn record the offence in a general diary and the juvenile offenders will then get medical and legal aid while their guardians are informed.
Other provisions include:
- The juvenile would not be put in a cell with adults.
- The child must also be provided food promptly if he/she say they are hungry at the time of the arrest.
- It would also be the Juvenile Justice Board’s and children’s court’s responsibility that they see to it that a child offender is rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
The draft also asks the state governments to set up at least one “place of safety” for the rehabilitation of these children and the juveniles that have been convicted of heinous crimes.
The biggest point in this draft was about the heinous crimes such as rape and murder that has been committed by a suspect of more than 16 years of age.
In above case, the child welfare police officer will have to produce statements of witnesses and investigation reports within a month to prove the crime.
Juveniles between the age group of 16-18 will be treated as adults on charges of rape and murder on condition that they can’t be awarded the death sentence or sent to prison for life.
Till now such offenders were tried by the Juvenile Justice Board and then sent to a child correctional home for a maximum of three years if convicted.
The decision on above will be now on the board, that if they want a case should be tried by a regular court.