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Cabinet approves amendments to Juvenile Justice, aims to speed up adoption cases

Cabinet approves amendments to Juvenile Justice, aims to speed up adoption casesPremium
Cabinet approves amendments to Juvenile Justice, aims to speed up adoption cases

  • The amendments include authorizing DM including Addnl DM to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act
  • The DM have been further empowered under the Act, to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions

Aimed at ensuring speedy disposal of pending child adoption cases, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal that attempts to introduce measures for strengthening Child Protection set-up to ensure the best interest of children.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 states that the adoption of a child is final on the issuance of an adoption order by the court. The proposal provides that instead of the court, the district magistrate will issue such adoption orders.

“The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability," the government said in a statement.

“The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act, to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions," the statement said.

The amendment also included defining eligibility parameters for appointment of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members, and categorizing previously undefined offences as ‘serious offence’ are some of the other aspects of the proposal. Several difficulties faced in the implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed, the government said.

According to the government, as in 2018, there were 629 adoption cases pending in various courts. In order to expedite adoption proceedings, the proposed amendment transfers the power to issue adoption orders to the district magistrate. An issue to consider is whether the level of pendency justifies shifting the load to the district magistrate.

Adoption of a child is a legal process that creates a permanent legal relationship between the child and adoptive parents. Therefore, there have been questions whether it is appropriate to vest the power to issue adoption orders with the district magistrate instead of a civil court.

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