Amended JJ Act increasing role of DMs in adopting children comes into force

New Delhi: An amended law to increase the role of district magistrates and additional district magistrates in matters relating to child custody and adoption has come into force.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced in Parliament by the Government during the budget session last year and passed in the monsoon session .

After his passage from Parliament, it was signed into law by the President. The law went into effect on September 1.

“In exercising the powers conferred by subsection (2) of section 1 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2021 (23 of 2021), the central government appoints September 1, 2022 as the date on which said law shall come into force,” the gazette notification reads.

The amendments authorize district magistrates and additional district magistrates to issue adoption orders under section 61 of the JJ Act.

With the law, district magistrates were also empowered to ensure the completion of the adoption process and to support children in distress.

Under the amended provisions of the law, any child care institution will only be registered after considering the recommendations of the district magistrate.

The DM will also independently assess the functioning of district child protection units, child protection committees, juvenile justice boards, specialized juvenile police units, child care facilities children, etc., in accordance with the law.

The eligibility criteria for the nomination of CWC members have been redefined.

Criteria for the disqualification of CWC members were also introduced to ensure that only those with the necessary competence and integrity are appointed to the CWC.

Under the original law, crimes committed by children were defined in three categories, petty, serious and heinous.

It has been observed that some offenses do not fall strictly into any of these categories.

It was decided in the amended law that offenses for which the maximum penalty is more than seven years, but without a prescription for a minimum penalty or a minimum penalty less than seven years, will be treated as serious crimes.

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