New Delhi, Aug 6 :
The union cabinet Wednesday gave its nod to amend the Juvenile Justice Act that will pave the way for 16-18-year-olds to be treated as adults when involved in heinous crimes.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, informed sources said.
The amendment will empower Juvenile Justice Boards to take a call on whether to treat a 16/18-year-old as adult in cases of heinous crimes.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said in the Lok Sabha last week that the move to amend the act was aimed to act as a deterrent for child offenders committing such crimes and will also protect the rights of the victim.
The sources said the other amendments in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, include bringing in more clarity in the role and procedures of statutory structures such as Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards, and strengthening punitive measures for offences committed against children.
New offences such as corporal punishment, ragging and using a child for vending, peddling, carrying, supplying or smuggling any intoxicating liquor, narcotic drug or psychotropic substance and streamlining and strengthening measures for adoption, including providing statutory status to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have also been added, they said.
The amended law makes it mandatory for all child care institutions to register or pay a stringent penalty in case of non-compliance.