The draft Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 proposed by the Central government safeguards and ensures care and protection of children’s rights as well as those who are in conflict with the law.
It incorporates various international obligations and covenants into the legal framework. According to the new Bill yet to be passed by the Parliament, any form of mental and physical abuse of children can give the parents, guardians and teachers, a maximum of 5 years in prison. There was a huge outcry demanding more stringent punishment for the prime accused, a juvenile, in the Delhi gang rape case of 2012. Serious crimes are committed by juveniles. At the same time, violence and sexual abuses against children are on a hike in the country prompting the government to strengthen the existing provisions.
The new proposed law, about which Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi informed the Lok Sabha on Friday, has already been circulated for inter-ministerial consultation. The law prohibits the media from disclosing the identity of children or propagating any such information which would lead to identifying them. All reports relating to children are to be treated as confidential. Corporal punishment and ragging, cruelty to children, employment of children for begging, adoption without proper procedure, and sale or procurement of children for any purpose are all acts that are punishable under the draft Bill.
However, only a stringent implementation can provide a meaningful disposition to make it a true letter of law. If the Bill is passed into law, India will be one among the 40 countries where corporal punishments are illegal and punishable by law.