Children are considered to be the greatest asset of a nation. Their nurture and solicitude are nation’s responsibility. It’s the duty of the state to devise programmes, frame policies, enact laws and duly implement it to protect the rights and interests of the children. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and 2006(amended) is a comprehensive legislation to provide justice and opportunities to children for their growth and development. The Act is based upon the provisions of the Indian Constitution and four broad rights of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Act lays down the primary law for not only the care and protection of children in need but also for the adjudication and disposition of matters relating to children in conflict with law. It conforms to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules), 1985, the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles deprived of their Liberty and all other relevant national and international instruments.
The Juvenile Justice system in India is based on the principle of promotion, protecting and safeguarding the rights of children up to age 18years. The Juvenile Justice Act has been broadly divided into three parts (1) Juvenile in conflict with law (2) Child in need of care and protection, (3) Rehabilitation and social reintegration. There are three institutions which come under Juvenile in conflict with law. They are Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Observation Homes and the Special Homes. The basic aim of the Act is to adopt a child-friendly approach in the settlement and disposition of matter in the best interest of children and arrange ways for their ultimate rehabilitation through various established institution under this Act. The observation homes are the place where juveniles are kept before the hearing of case. The special homes are the place where the juveniles are kept after the final order is passed and are kept under probation and supervision. The JJB consists of 3 members. They are the Chief Judicial Magistrate and two Social Workers (one of them must be a female). There are two institutions which come under the child in need of care and protection. They are Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Children homes. The Children Homes are the places where children belonging to the vulnerable groups are kept. The CWC consists of 5 members. One of them is the chairperson and the other members are Social Workers. Rehabilitation and social reintegration deals with the rehabilitation of children in children homes and special homes. It defines the procedure for adoption, foster care and sponsorship of child.