Amended JJ Act increasing roles of DMs in child adoption comes into force
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New Delhi: An amended law which seeks to increase the role of district magistrates and additional district magistrates on issues concerning child care and adoption has come into force.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Parliament by the government in the Budget session last year and passed in the Monsoon session.

After its passage from the Parliament, it was signed into Act by the President. The Act came into force on September 1.

“In exercise of the Powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2021 (23 of 2021), the Central Government hereby appoints the 1st day of September, 2022 as the date on which the said Act shall come into force,” the gazette notification said.

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

With the Act, the district magistrates have also been empowered to ensure the completion of the adoption process, and support children in distress.

As per the amended provisions of the Act, any child care institution will be registered only after considering the recommendations of the District Magistrate.

The DM will also independently evaluate the functioning of District Child Protection Units, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, Specialized Juvenile Police Units, Child care Institutions etc, according to the Act.

The eligibility parameters for appointment of CWC members have been redefined.

The criteria for disqualification of the CWC members have also been introduced to ensure that only the people with right competence and integrity are appointed to CWC.

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

It was observed that some offences do not strictly fall under any of these categories.

It has been decided in the amended Act that offences where the maximum sentence is more than seven years but no prescription of minimum sentence or minimum sentence of less than seven years is provided, will be treated as serious offences.

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