Object, Application and definitions under the Act
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is an important
piece of legislation in India that addresses the legal framework for the care,
protection, and rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law and children
in need of care and protection. The Act primarily seeks to ensure that the
rights and interests of children are protected and that they are provided with
appropriate care and support.
- The primary objective of the Act is to provide for a comprehensive legal framework for dealing with children who come into conflict with the law and for children in need of care and protection.
- It aims to establish a child-friendly approach to the justice system, focusing on the rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law rather than punitive measures.
- The Act is based on the principles of the best interests of the child, non-stigmatization, and the dignity and worth of the child.
General principles of Care and Protection of Children
- The Act applies to all children in India, defined as individuals below the age of eighteen years.
- It applies to children in conflict with the law, which includes children accused of committing offenses, as well as children in need of care and protection, such as abandoned or orphaned children, victims of trafficking, or those in vulnerable situations.
- The Act outlines the procedures and mechanisms for dealing with both categories of children, ensuring their protection, welfare, and rehabilitation.
Chapter II of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
outlines the general principles to be followed in the administration of the Act.
These principles are fundamental to ensuring the care and protection of children
in India, both those in conflict with the law and those in need of care and
protection. Here is a simplified summary of these principles:
- Presumption of Innocence: Children under the age of eighteen shall be presumed innocent of any wrongdoing.
- Dignity and Worth: All individuals, including children, must be treated with equal dignity and rights.
- Participation: Every child has the right to be heard and participate in decisions affecting their interests, considering their age and maturity.
- Best Interest: Decisions regarding children must prioritize their best interests and support their full potential.
- Family Responsibility: The primary responsibility for caring and protecting the child lies with their biological family or adoptive/foster parents.
- Safety: Measures must be taken to ensure a child's safety and protect them from harm or abuse while in the care and protection system.
- Positive Measures: All resources, including family and community support, should be utilized to promote a child's well-being and reduce vulnerabilities.
- Non-Stigmatizing Semantics: Avoid using adversarial or accusatory language when dealing with a child.
- Non-Waiver of Rights: No one can waive a child's rights, and the non-exercise of a fundamental right does not amount to a waiver.
- Equality and Non-Discrimination: Children cannot be discriminated against based on factors such as sex, caste, ethnicity, disability, etc., and they should have equal access and treatment.
- Right to Privacy and Confidentiality: Every child has the right to privacy and confidentiality throughout legal processes.
- Institutionalization as a Last Resort: Placing a child in institutional care should be the last resort after a reasonable inquiry.
- Repatriation and Restoration: Children in the juvenile justice system have the right to be reunited with their family and restored to their previous socio-economic and cultural status unless it's not in their best interest.
- Fresh Start: Past records of children in the juvenile justice system should generally be erased, except in special circumstances.
- Diversion: Measures to deal with children in conflict with the law without resorting to judicial proceedings should be promoted unless it's in the best interest of the child or society.
- Natural Justice: Basic procedural fairness standards, including the right to a fair hearing, impartiality, and the right to review, must be upheld by all individuals or bodies acting in a judicial capacity under this Act.
Juvenile Justice Board
Chapter III of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 deals with the establishment and functions of the Juvenile Justice Board. Here's a simplified summary of the key points:
Section 4 - Juvenile Justice Board:
Constitution of the Board:
Purpose: The State Government is mandated to establish one or more Juvenile Justice Boards in every district, independent of the provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Composition: Each Board is comprised of -
- Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate of First Class with at least 3 years of experience
- Two social workers, one of whom must be a woman.
Qualifications and Eligibility:
Social Worker Criteria: Social workers must have at least 7 years of active involvement in health, education, or welfare activities related to children, or be practicing professionals with a degree in child psychology, psychiatry, sociology, or law.
Disqualification: No individual is eligible if they have a history of human rights or child rights violations, conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude, removal or dismissal from government service, or engagement in child abuse, child labor, or other immoral acts.
Training and Sensitization:
- Training: The State Government is responsible for ensuring that all Board members, including the Principal Magistrate, receive induction training and sensitization within 60 days of their appointment. This training covers aspects related to the care, protection, rehabilitation, legal provisions, and justice for children.
- Term and Termination:
- Term of Office: The term of office for Board members, along with the resignation process, is determined by prescribed rules.
Termination: The State Government has the authority to terminate the appointment of any Board member (excluding the Principal Magistrate) after an inquiry if
- they misuse their power,
- fail to attend proceedings without valid reasons,
- attend less than the prescribed number of sittings,
- become ineligible under specified criteria during their term.
Section 5 - Placement of Persons Turning 18 During Inquiry:
If a child turns 18 during an inquiry, the Board can continue the inquiry and make orders as if the child were still under 18.
Section 6 - Placement of Persons Committing Offense Below 18:
If a person aged 18 or older is accused of an offense committed when they were under 18, they are treated as a child during the inquiry. Such a person can be placed in a place of safety during the inquiry.
Procedure in Relation to Children in Conflict with Law
- Section 7 - Procedure in Relation to Board:
- The Board should conduct child-friendly proceedings, and the venue should not be intimidating.
- A child can be produced before an individual member of the Board if the full Board is not available.
- A Board can act even in the absence of some members, but certain conditions must be met for final case disposal.
- In the case of differences of opinion among Board members, the Principal Magistrate's opinion prevails.
- Section 8 - Powers and Functions of the Board:
- Exclusive Jurisdiction: The Board has the exclusive power to handle all proceedings related to children in conflict with the law in its designated district.
- Extended Powers: The High Court and Children's Court can also exercise the powers of the Board under certain circumstances, such as when cases come before them through specified legal processes.
- Functions and Responsibilities of the Board:
- Ensuring the active participation of the child and their parent or guardian throughout the process.
- Safeguarding the rights of the child during apprehension, inquiry, aftercare, and rehabilitation.
- Facilitating access to legal aid for the child through legal services institutions.
- Providing interpreters or translators when necessary for children who do not understand the language used in proceedings.
- Directing a social investigation into the case by a Probation Officer or Child Welfare Officer to understand the circumstances of the alleged offense.
- Adjudicating and disposing of cases following the specified inquiry process.
- Transferring relevant matters to the Committee when a child in conflict with the law in need of care and protection.
- Passing final orders that include individual care plans for the child's rehabilitation, with follow-up by relevant authorities.
- Conduct inquiries for declaring fit persons for the care of children in conflict with the law.
- Inspecting residential facilities for children in conflict with the law monthly and recommending improvements.
- Directing the police to register first information reports for offenses against children in conflict with the law or children in need of care and protection.
- Regularly inspecting adult jails to ensure no child is held there and arrange transfers to observation homes or places of safety.
- Performing any other functions as prescribed.
- Section 9 - Procedure for Magistrate Not Empowered Under This Act:
- If a Magistrate not empowered under this Act believes that the accused is a child, they should forward the case to the appropriate Board.
- If an accused claims they were a child at the time of the offense, the court should inquire into their age and, if found to be a child, forward the case to the Board.
Section 10: Apprehension of Child:
- When a child is caught by the police for a wrongdoing, they must be handed over to special juvenile police or a child welfare police officer.
- The child should be brought before the Board (a special authority for children) within 24 hours, excluding travel time. The child should not be placed in police lockup or jail.
Section 11: Responsibility of the Person in Charge:
- The person in charge of the child, while the order is in effect, is responsible for the child's well-being, as if they were the child's parent.
- The child stays with this person as long as the Board believes it's best, except if the Board thinks another person is better for the child.
Section 12: Bail for Children:
- If a person who appears to be a child is accused of a crime, they can be released on bail, with or without surety, or placed under supervision or care.
- However, they can't be released if it's believed they might become involved in more crimes or be harmed, or if their release would harm justice.
Section 13: Informing Parents and Probation Officer:
Section 14: Inquiry by the Board
- The police must inform the child's parents or guardian if they can be found and direct them to appear before the Board.
- The probation officer or a Child Welfare Officer must prepare a report about the child's background and submit it to the Board within two weeks.
The Board must hold an inquiry when a child is brought before it and can make
various orders based on the child's situation. The inquiry should be completed
within four months, but it can be extended for two more months if needed.
Section 15: Preliminary Assessment for Serious Offences
For serious crimes committed by a child above 16, a preliminary assessment is
done to see if the child understands the crime and its consequences. Depending
on the assessment, the case may be tried as an adult or handled under this Act.
Section 16: Review of Pending Cases
Section 17: No Death Penalty or Life Imprisonment
- The Chief Judicial Magistrate or Chief Metropolitan Magistrate reviews
cases every three months and may recommend more Boards if needed.
- A high-level committee reviews cases every six months to check progress
and may involve experts and organizations.
No child can receive the death penalty or life imprisonment without the
possibility of release under this Act or any other law.
Section 18: Orders for Children in Conflict with Law
The Board can make various orders based on the child's age, offense, and
circumstances, including counseling, community service, probation, or placement
in a special home. Education, skills training, and therapy may also be included.
Section 19: Powers of Children's Court
The Children's Court can decide whether a child should be tried as an adult or
handled under this Act. It ensures an individual care plan for the child's
rehabilitation, and the child stays in a place of safety until 21 years old.
Section 20: Child Aged 21 and Unfinished Sentence
If a child turns 21 before completing their sentence, a review is done to
determine if they can rejoin society. They may be released with conditions or
sent to jail.
Section 21: No Disqualification for Certain Offenses
A child dealt with under this Act won't suffer disqualifications due to a
conviction, except for heinous offenses committed by children above 16.
Section 22: No Joint Proceedings
A child in conflict with the law should not be tried jointly with an adult.
Section 23: Special Provision for Runaway Child:
If a child escapes from care, the police can take charge of them and bring them
back. The Board assesses why the child ran away and makes appropriate decisions
for their care.
Section 24: Removal of Disqualification:
A child who has committed an offense under this Act doesn't suffer
disqualifications attached to convictions under other laws. Records of such
convictions may be destroyed.
Section 25: Special Provision for Pending Cases:
Cases pending before any Board or court at the start of this Act continue as if
the Act wasn't enacted.
Section 26: Runaway Child in Conflict with Law:
Police can take charge of a runaway child in conflict with the law and return
them to care. The Board decides the best course of action for the child's
Child Welfare Committee Sections
Procedure in Relation to Children in Need of Care and Protection
Section 27 - Child Welfare Committee (CWC):
- The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is established by the State Government for each district, responsible for handling matters concerning children in need of care and protection, as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
Formation and Composition:
- Each district must have one or more CWCs.
- A Committee includes a Chairperson and four members appointed by the State Government.
- At least one member must be a woman, and another must be an expert in child-related matters.
Qualifications for Committee Members:
- Members should have degrees in specific fields related to children or be practicing professionals involved in child-related activities for at least seven years.
- Criteria disqualifying potential members include past human rights or child rights violations, convictions for offenses involving moral turpitude, dismissal from government service, engagement in child abuse or labor, or involvement in the management of a child care institution.
Section 28 - Procedure in relation to Committee:
The CWC is required to meet at least 20 days in a month. During these meetings, it must follow the rules and procedures prescribed for conducting its business.
Section 29 - Powers of Committee:
1) Case Disposal Authority:
The Committee is empowered to handle cases concerning the care, protection, treatment, development, and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection. Additionally, the Committee provides basic needs and ensure their safety.
Section 30 - Functions and responsibilities of Committee:
Assessment and Reception:
Handling the reception and initial assessment of children brought before the Committee.
- Investigations and Inquiries: Conducting inquiries and
investigations into issues affecting children's safety and
- Placement and Care: Responsible for placing children in suitable
care environments, ensuring their protection, and overseeing their
- Selection and Oversight of Facilities: Selecting appropriate
institutions and regularly monitoring their quality through
inspections and improvement recommendations.
- Family Support and Reintegration: Supporting families
considering surrendering children and making efforts to keep
families together, as well as restoring lost or abandoned children
to their families.
- Legal and Adoption Procedures: Handling legal procedures for
declaring children legally available for adoption and accessing
legal services for children.
- Proactive Initiatives: Taking proactive measures to reach
children in need of care and protection who aren't presented before
the Committee under specific conditions.
- Collaboration and Coordination: Coordinating with various
agencies like police, labor departments, and others involved in
Chapter VI of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
outlines the procedures related to children in need of care and protection. Here
is a simplified breakdown of the key provisions in this chapter:
Section 31 - Production before Committee:
- Persons Authorized to Present the Child:
- Any public servant.
- Child welfare or probation officers.
- Police officers, including special juvenile units or designated Child Welfare Police Officers.
- Officers from District Child Protection Units or inspectors appointed under labor laws.
- Social workers or concerned citizens.
- The child themselves can also present before the committee.
- Timeframe for Presentation: The child must be brought before the Committee promptly, within 24 hours, excluding travel time.
Section 32 - Mandatory Reporting:
- Reporting Authorities: Childline services, nearest police station, Child Welfare Committee, district child protection unit Within 24 hours (excluding travel time).
- Details regarding the child must be uploaded to a specified government website.
- Non-Reporting Offense (Section 33): Failure to provide the required information about a child within the specified time is considered an offense.
- Penalty for Non-Reporting (Section 34):
- Imprisonment: Up to six months.
- Fine: Up to ten thousand rupees.
- Potential imposition of both imprisonment and a fine.
Section 35 - Surrender of Children:
- Parent/Guardian's Decision: If a parent or guardian feels unable to provide adequate emotional, physical, or social support to a child, they can voluntarily present the child before the Committee.
- Surrender Deed Execution: Before surrendering the child formally, the parent or guardian undergoes counseling. The surrender deed is executed after this counseling process.
- Reconsideration Period: The parent or guardian is given a two-month period to reconsider their decision. During this time, the Committee assesses the situation and decides whether to accept the surrender.
- Outcome of Surrender Decision: If the surrender is approved:
- Children Below Six: Sent to a Specialized Adoption Agency.
- Children Above Six: Placed in a Children's Home.
Section 36 - Inquiry:
Inquiry Process (Section 36):
Upon Child's Production: When a child is presented before the Committee or a report is received under Section 31, the Committee conducts an inquiry.
Child Placement Orders: The Committee can order the child's placement in a children's home, suitable facility, or with a fit person after speedy social investigation.
Special Provisions for Young Children: Children below six years, whether orphaned, surrendered, or appearing abandoned, are directed to be placed in Specialised Adoption Agencies, if available.
Timeframe and Review:
Inquiry Duration: Social investigation to be completed within fifteen days, enabling the Committee to pass a final order within four months of the child's initial production.
Placement Decision: If the Committee determines the child lacks family support or is in continued need of care and protection, they may place the child in a suitable facility or foster family until suitable rehabilitation options are found, or until the child turns eighteen.
Reporting and Government Intervention:
Quarterly Reporting: The Committee submits quarterly reports on case dispositions and pending cases to the District Magistrate.
Government Oversight: The District Magistrate reviews case pendency and directs remedial measures if necessary. If pendency remains unaddressed despite directions, the State Government can terminate and reconstitute the Committee.
Interim Responsibility: In case of Committee termination or delay in forming a new Committee, a nearby district's Child Welfare Committee assumes responsibility in the interim period.
(1) Parent/Guardian's Decision: If a parent or guardian feels unable to provide
adequate emotional, physical, or social support to a child, they can voluntarily
present the child before the Committee.
(2) Surrender Deed Execution: Before surrendering the child formally, the parent
or guardian undergoes counseling. The surrender deed is executed after this
(3) Reconsideration Period: The parent or guardian is given a two-month period
to reconsider their decision. During this time, the Committee assesses the
situation and decides whether to accept the surrender.
(4) Outcome of Surrender Decision: If the surrender is approved:
(a) Children Below Six: Sent to a Specialized Adoption Agency.
(b) Children Above Six: Placed in a Children's Home.
Section 36 - Inquiry:
1) Inquiry Process (Section 36):
(1) Upon Child's Production: When a child is presented before the Committee or a
report is received under Section 31, the Committee conducts an inquiry.
(2) Child Placement Orders: The Committee can order the child's placement in a
children's home, suitable facility, or with a fit person after speedy social
(3) Special Provisions for Young Children: Children below six years, whether
orphaned, surrendered, or appearing abandoned, are directed to be placed in
Specialised Adoption Agencies, if available.
2) Timeframe and Review:
(1) Inquiry Duration: Social investigation to be completed within fifteen days,
enabling the Committee to pass a final order within four months of the child's
(2) Placement Decision: If the Committee determines the child lacks family
support or is in continued need of care and protection, they may place the child
in a suitable facility or foster family until suitable rehabilitation options
are found, or until the child turns eighteen.
3) Reporting and Government Intervention:
(1) Quarterly Reporting: The Committee submits quarterly reports on case
dispositions and pending cases to the District Magistrate.
(2) Government Oversight: The District Magistrate reviews case pendency and
directs remedial measures if necessary. If pendency remains unaddressed despite
directions, the State Government can terminate and reconstitute the Committee.
4) Interim Responsibility: In case of Committee termination or delay in forming
a new Committee, a nearby district's Child Welfare Committee assumes
responsibility in the interim period.
Section 37 - Orders for Children in Need of Care and Protection:
- Declaration of Child in Need of Care and Protection: If the CWC finds, after an inquiry and considering a report, that a child needs care and protection, they can declare it.
- Returning to Parents or Guardians: The CWC can decide to send the child back to their parents, guardians, or family, either with or without supervision by a Child Welfare Officer or designated social worker.
- Placement Options: If it's not in the child's best interest to return home, the CWC may choose to place the child in different settings:
- In a Children's Home
- In a suitable facility
- In a Specialised Adoption Agency for potential adoption
- With a suitable person for either long-term or temporary care
- Foster Care and Sponsorship Orders: The CWC has the power to issue foster care and sponsorship orders, as described in Sections 44 and 45 of the Act.
- Providing Directions for Care and Rehabilitation: The CWC can give instructions to the individuals or institutions responsible for the child's care. These instructions may cover immediate needs like shelter, medical care, counseling, therapy, education, and more. They also ensure coordination with local child protection units, the State Government, and other relevant agencies.
- Legal Declaration for Adoption: The CWC can declare a child legally free for adoption, following the guidelines in Section 38.
Section 38 - Procedure for Declaring Child Legally Free for Adoption:
Orphan and Abandoned Child:
The Committee makes extensive efforts to locate the parents or guardians of the child. If after this inquiry, it is established that the child is an orphan with no one to care for them, or abandoned, the Committee declares the child legally free for adoption.
- Timeframe for Declaration:
- For children up to two years old, the declaration must be made within 2 months from the child's production.
- For children above two years old, the declaration must be made within 4 months from the child's production.
- No FIR Against Biological Parents: No first information report (FIR) can be registered against any biological parent during the inquiry for an abandoned or surrendered child under this Act.
Surrendered Children: If the child was surrendered, the institution where the child is placed by the Committee brings the case before the Committee once the period specified in section 35 is complete, to declare the child legally free for adoption.
Special Cases: In special situations like children with mentally challenged parents or those born from sexual assault and unwanted, the Committee can declare them ready for adoption.
Decision-Making: The decision to declare a child as legally free for adoption must be agreed upon by at least three Committee members.
Reporting: The Committee must provide monthly reports to the District Magistrate, State Agency, and Authority about adopted children and pending cases.
Rehabilitation and Social Re-integration
Section 39: Process of Rehabilitation and Social Re-integration:
- Individual Care Plan: The rehabilitation and social integration process for children is based on the individual care plan of each child. This means that the plan should be customized to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the child in question.
- Family Preferred:
- Kids go back to their own families.
- If not, they might get adopted.
- Foster care is an option too.
- Sibling Stays: They try to keep siblings together in care, unless it's not good for them.
- Law-Breaking Kids:
- They go to observation homes if not on bail.
- Special homes or safe places work too.
- Sometimes, they live with a good person, as ordered.
- Needy and Protected Kids:
- Registered institutions.
- A good person's place for a while or longer.
- Money Help: Older kids leaving care or law-breaking kids can get financial help when they turn eighteen to help them get back into normal life. This is in section 46 of the Act.
Section 40: Restoration of Child in Need of Care and Protection:
- Objective: Institutions like Children's Homes or Specialized Adoption Agencies are established with the primary goal of ensuring the safety, well-being, and rehabilitation of children. These institutions take necessary measures to protect and provide for children who have been temporarily or permanently removed from their family environments.
- Competent Authority: The Act empowers the Competent Authority to assess the suitability of returning a child to their parents, guardians, or any fit person after evaluating their capability to care for the child. It also grants the authority to provide guidance and directions for the child's welfare.
Section 41: Registration of Child Care Institutions
- Mandatory Registration: All organizations involved in caring for children, regardless of receiving government funding, are mandated to register within six months of the Act's commencement. This requirement applies uniformly to state-operated or voluntary organizations to ensure standardization and accountability.
- Provisional Registration and Renewal: New institutions seeking registration may receive provisional registration for six months. Registrations are renewed every five years. Failure to comply with registration criteria could result in cancellation by the State Government.
- Penalty for Non-Registration:
- Imprisonment Up to 1 Or Fine at least 1lakh rupees or Both.
- Plus, each month of delay in applying for registration is treated as a separate offense.
Section 43: Open Shelter
- The State Government's Role: The State Government can create and manage these shelters itself or with help from organizations.
- Purpose of Shelters: These shelters are meant for children who need a safe place to stay temporarily. They aim to protect them from harm and prevent them from living on the streets.
- Reporting Requirement: The shelters must provide information every month about the children they're helping to the District Child Protection Unit and the Committee.
Section 44: Foster Care:
Placement and Support:
Children are placed in foster care with suitable families or individuals. Foster families are carefully chosen based on their ability, willingness, experience in taking care of children, and are not related to the child. The State provides financial support and conducts regular inspections to ensure the child's well-being and proper care.
Efforts are made to maintain siblings' unity within foster care unless separation is deemed to be in the best interest of the children involved.
Section 45: Sponsorship:
Section 46: After Care of Children Leaving Child Care Institution
Sponsorship programs aim to financially support families, children's homes, and special homes to meet children's various needs such as medical, nutritional, and educational requirements, thereby enhancing their overall well-being.
Sponsorship initiatives target specific scenarios, including supporting widowed mothers, aiding orphaned children living with extended families, assisting families affected by severe illnesses or accidents incapacitating parents from providing for their children.
Provides financial support to children leaving care institutions at age 18 for
reintegration into society.
Section 47: Observation Homes
Observation homes are temporary shelters for children in legal conflict. State
governments establish them, either directly or through NGOs, in every district.
They serve children while legal inquiries are conducted, and rules ensure proper
management, standards, and services. Children are segregated based on various
factors, including age, gender, and the nature of their alleged offense
Section 48: Special Homes
Special homes rehabilitate children in conflict with the law who have committed
offenses. They are set up by state governments in districts, either directly or
through NGOs. Rules govern their management, standards, and services, focusing
on social reintegration. Children in special homes are segregated based on age,
gender, offense type, and their mental and physical condition
Section 49: Place of Safety
Each state must have at least one registered place of safety for individuals
aged eighteen or older and children aged sixteen to eighteen accused or
convicted of serious offenses. These places provide separate facilities during
inquiries and for convicted
individuals. Rules specify the types of places that qualify and define required
facilities and services.
Section 50: Children's Home
Children's Homes, established by state governments in districts, provide care,
education, and rehabilitation for children in need of protection. Some offer
specialized services for children with special needs. State governments set
rules for monitoring, management, and individualized care plans for each child
placed in these homes
Section 51: Fit Facility
The Board or Committee can approve a registered facility, whether governmental
or non-governmental, to temporarily care for a child based on suitability. They
can withdraw this approval with a written explanation
Section 52: Fit Person
The Board or Committee can recognize an individual as suitable to temporarily
care for a child, following proper verification. They have the authority to
withdraw this recognition with a written explanation.
Section 53: Rehabilitation and Re-integration Services in Institutions
- Institutions must offer services like food, shelter, medical care, education, skills training, mental health support, legal aid, and more to help children's well-being.
- They should also assist with birth registration and identity proof if needed.
Each institution must have a Management Committee to oversee operations and monitor child progress.
Institutions with children over six years old should create children's committees to ensure child safety and well-being as per regulations.
Section 54: Regular Inspection of Institutions
Inspection committees, appointed by the State Government, conduct routine visits
to registered institutions to assess their compliance with set standards. These
visits ensure that institutions maintain adequate conditions and services for
the well-being of children.
Section 56: Adoption
Adoption is a legal process where a child is permanently placed with individuals
(adoptive parents) who are not their biological parents. This process involves
transferring parental rights and responsibilities from the biological parents to
the adoptive parents, making the adopted child legally part of the adoptive
Adoption is a way to provide a family for orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered
children. It must follow the rules and regulations set out in this Act and by
the Authority. Relatives, regardless of their religion, can adopt a child from
another relative. This is also subject to the rules and regulations specified in
The provisions of this Act do not apply to adoptions made under the Hindu
Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. All adoptions involving children from
foreign countries must adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in this Act.
Prohibition of Unauthorized International Adoption: It is illegal for anyone to
send a child to a foreign country or participate in any arrangement to transfer
a child's custody to someone in a foreign country without a valid order from the
District Magistrate. Violation of this provision can result in punishment under
Section 80 of the Act.
Section 57: Eligibility of Prospective Adoptive Parents:
- Physical, Financial, and Mental Fitness: Prospective adoptive parents must be physically fit, financially stable, mentally alert, and genuinely motivated to provide a good upbringing to the child they wish to adopt.
- Consent of Both Spouses: If a couple wishes to adopt, the consent of both spouses is necessary for the adoption process.
- Single or Divorced Individuals: Single or divorced individuals can also adopt, provided they meet the criteria specified in the adoption regulations established by the Authority.
- Single Males and Girl Child Adoption: Single males are generally not eligible to adopt a girl child. This restriction is in place to ensure the child's welfare.
- Additional Criteria: The adoption regulations framed by the Authority may specify additional eligibility criteria that prospective adoptive parents must meet.
Section 58: Procedure for Adoption by Indian Prospective Adoptive Parents Living in India:
- Interested Indian prospective adoptive parents living in India can apply to a Specialised Adoption Agency to adopt an orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered child. The application process is detailed in the adoption regulations established by the Authority.
- The Specialised Adoption Agency will assess the prospective adoptive parents through a home study report. If found eligible, the agency will refer a child who has been legally declared free for adoption to the prospective parents. This referral includes the child's study report and medical records, following guidelines in the adoption regulations.
- Once the prospective adoptive parents accept the referred child and submit the required reports signed by them, the Specialised Adoption Agency will place the child in pre-adoption foster care. Subsequently, the agency will file an application with the District Magistrate to obtain the adoption order, as per the adoption regulations.
- Upon receiving a certified copy of the order issued by the District Magistrate, the Specialised Adoption Agency will promptly provide the same to the prospective adoptive parents.
- The progress and well-being of the child within the adoptive family will be monitored and ensured in accordance with the guidelines specified in the adoption regulations established by the Authority.
Section 61: Procedure for Disposal of Adoption Proceedings:
Section 63: Effect of Adoption
- The District Magistrate must ensure that adoption is for the child's welfare, considers the child's wishes, and confirms that no illegal payments were made, except as allowed by adoption regulations.
- Adoption proceedings are held in-camera, and the District Magistrate must dispose of the case within two months.
Adoption creates a legal parent-child relationship, giving adoptive parents full
rights and responsibilities. It offers stability and emotional security to the
adopted child, including a potential name change, inheritance rights, and a
permanent family structure. Adoption terminates legal ties with biological
parents, providing a stable and supportive environment for the child's
well-being and development.
Other Offences Against Children
|Prohibition on disclosure of child's identity
|Imprisonment up to 6 months or Fine up to 2 lakh rupees, or
|Cruelty to a child
|Imprisonment up to 3 years or Fine of 1 lakh rupees, or
|Employment of child for begging
Imprisonment up to 10 years & Fine of 5 lakh rupees.
- Imprisonment up to 5 years & Fine of 1 lakh rupees.
- For amputation or maiming:
|Giving intoxicating substances to a child
|Imprisonment up to 7 years & Fine up to 1 lakh rupees.
|Using a child for trafficking substances
|Imprisonment up to 7 years and a fine up to 1 lakh rupees.
|Exploitation of a child employee
|Imprisonment up to 5 years & Fine of 1 lakh rupees.
|Adoption without following procedures
|Imprisonment up to 3 years or Fine of 1 lakh rupees, or Both
|Sale and procurement of children
- Imprisonment up to 5 years & Fine of 1 lakh rupees.
- For persons having actual charge - imprisonment 3 to 7 years.
- First conviction: Fine of 10,000 rupees.
- Subsequent offenses - Imprisonment up to 3 months or Fine or Both.
|Use of child by militant groups
|Imprisonment up to 7 years & Fine of 5 lakh rupees.
|Kidnapping and abduction of a child
|Provisions of IPC sections 359 to 369 apply, with necessary
|Offenses committed on disabled children
|Punishment is twice the penalty provided for the offense.
|Classification of offenses and designated court
|Specifies the classification of offenses and courts for
|Punishment as provided for the offense abetted.
|Offender liable for the greater punishment under any
|Offense committed by child under this Chapter
|Child committing an offense is considered a child in
conflict with the law under this Act.
Written By: Harshavardhan Prakash Deshmukh
- BALLB, Modern Law
College, Pune City
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