The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 was brought by the Government of India after a tragic incident of a Delhi girl gang – rape. The Act was brought so that one of the guilty who was a juvenile could be punished for the heinous act. The JJ Act was introduced to control and prevent the commission of such heinous acts by the juveniles. Although main aim of the Act is to reform those criminal youngsters who indulge in such major crimes.


Section 2(35) of the Act defines that a child below the age of eighteen years. They are the persons who have not attained the age of majority. When a juvenile commits an offence, he is known as a juvenile offender and tried in the court of law according to the rules enshrined in the JJ Act, 2015. The reason behind this immunity is the basic principle that “likes should be treated in a similar way.” A juvenile cannot be treated in the same manner as an adult can be treated since, there is a difference of the age of majority. However, in certain cases, older juveniles can be treated for the best interest pf justice.


The JJ Act was passed to take action against the juvenile that had participated in the brutal gang rape of a girl in Delhi. It was also passed to update the law bearing in mind the standards set by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989. In order to achieve the objects prescribed in the convention the JJ Act was promulgated.


Although JJ Act is a different law to punish and reform juveniles that commit offences against the state, IPC and CrPC also play a major role in guiding the principles of the Act. These Acts also help in guiding the trial of these juvenile offenders.

Section 83 of the IPC clearly states that nothing is an offence done by a child under 7 years of age. Section 84 of the IPC that nothing is an offence done by a child aged between 7 to 12 if he is not able to understand the consequences of his act.

These sections provide the way to punish juveniles that are above 7 years of age and are able to understand the consequence of their actions.

CrPC also helps to determine the punishment to be given to juveniles under 16 years of age as provided in section 27 of the Act.

Section 437 of the Act allows any juvenile to apply for anticipatory bail in any crime and that is maintainable in any High Court or any Court of Sessions.

Thus, the IPC and CrPC play a major role in guiding the Juvenile Justice Board to take actions against the juvenile accused of any offence.


Definition of child in need of care and protection –The new law expands the definition to include a child who is found working against labor laws, who faces an immediate risk of marrying before reaching legal age, lives with someone who has threatened to harm, exploit, abuse, or neglect the child, or who has violated any other law, and whose parents or guardians are unable to provide for him.
Child Welfare Committee – In circumstances where a kid needs care and protection, the Child Welfare Committee is no longer the final authority. Instead, anybody with a relationship to the child may petition to the district judge, who will assess the case and issue any necessary orders in his or her capacity as a district judge. the Child Protection Committee’s jurisdiction.
Procedure for inquiry: The Child Protection Committee is now required to look into any child produced before it, as opposed to children for whom production reports have been received. The process also includes delivered children and orphans.

A detailed explanation of “adoption” was given – Adoption has now been defined in depth and the child’s rights have been acknowledged.


The Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 represents a significant milestone in India’s approach to juvenile justice, balancing rehabilitation and accountability. By distinguishing between juveniles based on the severity of their offenses, the Act addresses the need for a more nuanced approach to juvenile delinquency. It aims to protect children’s rights while ensuring that those committing heinous crimes are held accountable in a manner reflecting the gravity of their actions. The Act’s emphasis on rehabilitation through various child care institutions and special homes underscores its commitment to the reintegration of juveniles into society. However, it also faces criticism for potentially violating international child rights standards by allowing for the trial of certain juveniles as adults. Moving forward, the effective implementation of this Act, continuous monitoring, and periodic review are essential to ensure it meets its goals of justice, rehabilitation, and the best interest of the child.

Contributed by – Ishita Saxena

(Symbiosis Law School, Noida 2023-28)

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