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The Juvenile Justice Act The Juvenile Justice Act

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The Juvenile Justice Act

The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986

Received the assent of the President on 1st December, 1986; Assent first published in Gazette of India (Extraordinary), Part II-Section 1, dated 3.12.1986, pages 1-23).

An Act to provide for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles and for the adjudication of certain matters relating to, and disposition of, delinquent juveniles.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-seventh Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

CHAPTER I

Preliminary

1. Short title extent, and commencement. - (1) This Act may be called the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3) It shall come into force on such [date] as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and for different States.

2. Definitions. - In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

(a) "begging" means-

(i) soliciting or receiving alms in a public place or entering into any private premises for the purpose of soliciting or receiving alms, whether under the pretence of singing, dancing, fortunetelling, performing tricks or selling articles or otherwise;

(ii) exposing or exhibiting, with the object of obtaining or extorting alms, any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease, whether of himself or of any other person or of an animal;

(iii) allowing oneself to be used as an exhibit for the purpose of soliciting or receiving alms;

(b) "Board" means a Juvenile Welfare Board constituted under Section 4;

(c) "brothel", "prostitute", "prostitution" and "public place" shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 (104 of 1956);

(d) "competent authority" means, in relation to neglected juveniles, a Board and, in relation to delinquent juveniles, a Juvenile Court and where no such Board or Juvenile Court has been constituted, includes any court empowered under sub-section (2) of section 7 to exercise the powers conferred on a Board or Juvenile Court;

(e) "delinquent juvenile" means a juvenile who has been found to have committed an offence;

(f) "fit person" or "fit Institution" means any person or institution (not being a police station or jail) found fit by the competent authority to receive and take care of a juvenile entrusted to his or its care and protection on the terms and conditions specified by the competent authority;

(g) "guardian" in relation to a juvenile, includes any person who, in the opinion of the competent authority, having cognizance of any proceeding in relation to a juvenile, has, for the time being, the actual charge of, or control over, that juvenile;

(h) "juvenile" means a boy who has not attained the age of sixteen years or a girl who has not attained the age of eighteen years;

(i) "Juvenile Court" means a Court constituted under section 5;

(j) "juvenile home" means an institution established or certified by the State Government under section 9 as a juvenile home;

(k) "narcotic drug" and "psychotropic substance" shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985);

(l) "neglected juvenile" means a juvenile who-

(i) is found begging; or

(ii) is found without having any home or settled place of abode and without 'any ostensible means of subsistence and is destitute;

(iii) has a parent or guardian who is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the juvenile; or

(iv) lives in a brothel or with a prostitute or frequently goes to any place used for the purpose of prostitution, or is found to associate with any prostitute or any other person who leads an immoral, drunken or depraved life;

(v) who is being or is likely to be abused or exploited for immoral or illegal purposes or unconscionable gain;

(m) "observation home" means any institution or place established or recognised by the State Government under section 11 as an observation home;

(n) "offence" means an offence punishable under any law for the time being in force;

(o) "place of safety" means any place or institution (not being a police station or jail), the person in charge of which is willing temporarily to receive and take care of a juvenile and which, in the opinion of the competent authority may be a place of safety for the juvenile;

(p) "prescribed" means prescribed by rule made under the Act;

(q) "probation officer" means an officer appointed as a probation officer under this Act or under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 (20 of 1958);

(r) "special home" means an institution established or certified by the State Government under section 10;

(s) "supervision", in relation to a juvenile placed under the care of any parent, guardian or other fit person or fit institution under this Act, means the supervision of that juvenile by a probation officer for the purpose of ensuring that the juvenile is properly looked after and that the conditions imposed by the competent authority are complied with;

(t) all words and expressions used but not defined in this Act and defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in that Code.

3. Continuation of inquiry in respect of juvenile who has ceased to be a juvenile. - Where an inquiiy has been initiated against a juvenile and during the course of such inquiry the juvenile ceases to be such, then, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, the inquiry may be continued and orders may be made in respect of such person as if such person had continued to be a juvenile.

CHAPTER II

Competent authorities and institutions for juveniles.

4. Juvenile Welfare Boards. - (1) The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute for any area specified in the notification, one or more Juvenile Welfare Boards for exercising the powers and discharging the duties conferred or imposed on such Board in relation to neglected juveniles under this Act.

(2) A Board shall consist of a Chairman and such other members as the State Government thinks fit to appoint, of whom not less than one shall be a women; any every such member shall be vested with the powers of a Magistrate under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

(3) The Board shall function as a Bench of Magistrates and shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, on a Metropolitan Magistrate or, as the case may be, a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.

5. Juvenile Courts. - (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute for any area specified in the notification, one or more Juvenile Courts for exercising the powers and discharging the duties conferred or imposed on such Court in relation to delinquent juveniles under this Act.

(2) A Juvenile Court shall consist of such number of Metropolitan Magistrates or Judicial Magistrates of the first class, as the case may be, forming a Bench as the State Government thinks fit to appoint, of whom one shall be designated as the Principal Magistrate; and every such Bench shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, on a Metropolitan Magistrate or, as the case may be, a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.

(3) Every Juvenile Court shall be assisted by a panel of two honorary social workers possessing such qualifications as may be prescribed, of whom at least one shall be a woman, and such panel shall be appointed by the State Government.

6. Procedure etc. in relation to Boards and Juvenile Courts. - (1) In the even of any difference of opinion among the members of a Board or among the Magistrates of a Juvenile Court, the opinion of the majority shall prevail, but where there is no such majority, the opinion of the Chairman or of the Principal Magistrate, as the case may be, shall prevail.

(2) A Board or Juvenile Court may act notwithstanding the absence of any member of the Board or. as the case may be, any Magistrate of the Juvenile Court, and no order made by the Board or Juvenile Court shall be invalid by reason only of the absence of any member or Magistrate, as the case may be, during any stage of the proceeding.

(3) No person shall be appointed as a member of the Board or as a Magistrate in the Juvenile Court unless he has, in the opinion of the State Government, special knowledge of child psychology and child welfare.

7. Powers of Board and Juvenile Court. - (1) Where a Board or a Juvenile Court has been constituted for any area such Board or Court, shall, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force but save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act have power to deal exclusively with all proceedings under this Act relating to neglected Juveniles or delinquent juveniles, as the case may be:

Provided that a Board or a Juvenile Court may if it is of opinion that it is necessary so to do having regard to the circumstances of the case transfer any proceedings to any Juvenile Court or Board, as the case may be;

Provided further that where there is any difference of opinion between a Board and a Juvenile Court regarding the transfer of any proceedings under the first proviso, it shall be referred to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or as the case may be, the Chief Judicial Magistrate for decision, and in a case where the District Magistrate is functioning as a Board or a Juvenile Court, such difference of opinion shall lie referred to the Court of Session, and the decision of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate or, as the case may be, the Court of Session on such reference shall be final.

(2) Where no Board or Juvenile Court has been constituted for any area, the powers conferred on the Board or the Juvenile Court by or under this Act shall be exercised in that area, only by the following namely:-

(a) the District Magistrate, or

(b) the Sub-Divisional Magistrate; or

(c) any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate of the first class, as the case may be.

(3) The powers conferred on the Board or Juvenile Court by or under this Act may also be exercised by the High Court and the Court of Session, when the proceeding comes before them in appeal, revision or otherwise.

8. Procedure to be followed by a Magistrate not empowered under the Act. - (1) When any Magistrate not empowered to exercise the powers of a Board or a Juvenile Court under this Act is of opinion that a person brought before him under any of the provisions of this Act (otherwise than for the purpose of giving evidence) is a juvenile, he shall record such opinion and forward the juvenile and the record of the proceeding to the competent authority having jurisdiction over the proceeding.

(2) The competent authority to which the proceeding is forwarded under sub-section (1) shall hold the inquiry as if the juvenile had originally been brought before it.

9. Juvenile homes. - (1) The State Government may establish and maintain as many juvenile home, as may be necessary for the reception of neglected juveniles under this Act.

(2) Where the State Government is of opinion that any institution other than a home established or maintained under sub-section (1) is fit for the reception of the neglected juveniles to be sent there under this Act, it may certify such institution as juvenile home for the purposes of this Act.

(3) Every juvenile home to which a neglected juvenile is sent under this Act shall not only provide juvenile with accommodation maintenance and facilities for education vocational training and rehabilitation, but also provide him with facilities for the development of his character and abilities and give him necessary training for protecting himself against moral danger or exploitation and shall also perform such other functions as may be prescribed to ensure all round growth and development of his personality.

(4) The State Government, by rules made under this Act, provide for the management of juvenile homes, including the standards and the nature of services to be maintained by them and the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, the certification of a juvenile home may be granted or withdrawn.

10. Special homes. - (1) The State Government may establish and maintain as many special homes as may be necessary for the reception of delinquent juveniles under this Act.

(2) Where the State Government is of opinion that any institution other than a home established or maintained under sub-section (1), is fit for the reception of the delinquent juveniles to be sent there under this Act, it may certify such institution as a special home for the purposes of this Act.

(3) Every special home to which a delinquent juvenile is sent under this Art shall not only provide the juvenile with accommodation maintenance and facilities, for education, vocational training and rehabilitation, but also provide him with facilities for the development of his character and abilities and give him necessary training for his reformation and shall also perform such other functions as may be prescribed to ensure all round growth and development of his personality.

(4) The State Government may, by rules made under this Act, provide for the management of special homes, including the standards and the nature of services to be maintained by them, and the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, the certification of a special home may be granted or withdrawn.

(5) The rules made under sub-section (4) may also provide for the classification and separation of delinquent juveniles on the basis of age and nature of offences committed by them.

11. Observation homes. - (1) The State Government may establish and maintain as many observation homes as may be necessary for the temporary reception of juveniles during the tendency of any inquiry regarding them under this Act.

(2) Where the State Government is of opinion that any institution other than a home established or maintained under sub-section (1), is fit for the temporary reception of juveniles during the tendency of any inquiry regarding them under this Act, it may recognise such institution as an observation home for the purposes of this Act.

(3) Every observation home to which a juvenile is sent under this Act shall not only provide the juvenile with accommodation, maintenance and facilities for medical examination and treatment, but also provide him with facilities for useful occupation.

(4) The State Government may by rules made under this Act, provide for the management of observation homes, including the standards and the nature of services to be maintained by them, and the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, an institution may be recognised as an observation home or the recognition may be withdrawn.

12. After-care organisations. - The State Government may, by rules made under this Act, provide-

(a) for the establishment or recognition of after-care organisations and the powers that may be exercised by them for effectively carrying out their functions under this Act;

(b) for a scheme of after-care programme to be followed by such aftercare organisations for the purpose of taking care of juveniles after they leave juvenile homes or special homes and for the purpose of enabling them to lead an honest, industrious and useful life;

(c) for the preparation of submission of a report by the probation officer in respect of each juvenile prior to his discharge from a juvenile home or special home, as the case may be, regarding the necessity and nature of after-care of such juvenile, the period of such after-care, supervision thereof and for the submission of a report by the probation officer on the progress of each such juvenile;

(d) for the standards and the nature of services to be maintained by such after-care organisations;

(e) for such other matters as may be necessary for the purpose of effectively carrying out the scheme of after care programme of juveniles.

CHAPTER III

Neglected juveniles

13. Production of neglected juveniles before Boards. - (1) If any police officer or any other person or organisation authorised by the State Government in this behalf, by general or special order is of opinion that a person is apparently a neglected juvenile, such police officer or other person or organisation may take charge of that person for bringing him before a Board.

(2) When information is given to an office-in-charge of a police station about any neglected juvenile found within the limits of such station, he shall enter in a book to be kept for the purpose the substance of such information and take such action thereon as he deems fit and if such officer does not propose to take charge of the juvenile, he shall forward a copy of the entry made to the Board

(3) Every juvenile taken charge of under sub-section (1) shall be brought before the Board without any loss of time but within a period of twenty-four hours of such charge taken excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place where the juvenile had been taken charge of to the Board.

(4) Every juvenile taken charge of under section (1) shall, unless he is kept with his parent or guardian be sent to an observation home (but not to a police station or jail) until he can be brought before a Board.



14. Special procedure to be followed when neglected juvenile has parents. - (1) If a person, who in the opinion of the police officer or the authorised person or organisation is a neglected juvenile, has a parent or guardian who has the actual charge of, or control over, the juvenile, the police officer or the authorised person or the organisation may, instead of taking charge of the juvenile, make a report to the Board for initiating an inquiry regarding that juvenile.

(2) On receipt of a report under sub-section (1), the Board may call upon the parent or guardian to produce the juvenile before it and to show cause why the juvenile should not be dealt with as a neglected juvenile under the provisions of this Act and if it appears to the Board that the juvenile is likely to be removed from its jurisdiction or to be concealed, it may immediately order his removal (if necessary by issuing a search warrant for the immediate production of the juvenile) to an observation home or a place of safety.

15. Inquiry by Board regarding neglected juveniles. - (1) When a person alleged to be a neglected juvenile is produced before a Board, it shall examine the police officer or the authorised person or the organisation who brought the juvenile or made the report and record the substance of such examination and hold the inquiry in the prescribed manner and may make such orders in relation to the juvenile as it may deem fit.

(2) Where a Board is satisfied on inquiry that juvenile is a neglected juvenile and that it is expedient so to deal with him, the Board may make an order directing the juvenile to be sent to a juvenile home for the period until he ceases to be a juvenile.

Provided that the Board may, for reasons to be recorded, extend the period of such stay, but in no case the period of stay shall extend beyond the time when the juvenile attains the age of eighteen years, in the case of a boy, or twenty years, in the case of a girl.

Provided further that the Board may, if it is satisfied that having regard to the circumstances of the case it is expedient so to do, for reasons to be recorded reduce the period of stay to such period as it thinks fit.

(3) During the tendency of any inquiry regarding a juvenile, the juvenile shall, unless he is kept with his parent or guardian, be sent to an observation home or a place of safety for such period as may be specified in the order of the Board:

Provided that no juvenile shall be kept with his parent or guardian if, in the opinion of the Board, such parent or guardian is unfit or unable to exercise or does not exercise proper care and control over the juvenile.

16. Power to commit neglected juvenile to suitable custody. - (1) If the Board so thinks fir, it may instead of making an order under sub-section (2) of section 15, for sending the juvenile to a juvenile home, make an order placing the juvenile under the care of a parent, guardian or other fit person,on such parent, guardian or fit person executing a bond with or without surety to be responsible for the good behaviour and well being of the juvenile and for the observance of such conditions as the Board may think fit to impose.

(2) At the time of making an order under sub-section (1) or at any time subsequently, the Board may, in addition, make an order that the juvenile be placed under supervision for any period not exceeding three years in the first instance.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or subsection (2), If at any time it appears to the Board, on receiving a report from the probation officer or otherwise, that there has been a breach of any of the conditions imposed by it in respect of the juvenile, it may, after making such inquiry as it deems fit, order the juvenile to be sent to a juvenile home.

17. Uncontrollable Juveniles. - Where a parent or guardian of a juvenile complains to the Board that he is not able to exercise proper care and control over the juvenile and the Board is satisfied on inquiiy that proceedings under this Act should be initiated regarding the juvenile, it may send the juvenile to an observation home or a place of safety and make such further inquiry ,as it may deem fit and the provisions of section 15 and 16 shall, as far as may be apply to such proceedings.

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