4. Juvenile Justice Board
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), the State Government shall, constitute for every district, one or more Juvenile Justice Boards for exercising the powers and discharging its functions relating to children in conflict with law under this Act.
(2) A Board shall consist of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of First Class not being Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate (hereinafter referred to as Principal Magistrate) with at least three years experience and two social workers selected in such manner as may be prescribed, of whom at least one shall be a woman, forming a Bench and every such Bench shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) on a Metropolitan Magistrate or, as the case may be, a Judicial Magistrate of First Class.
(3) No social worker shall be appointed as a member of the Board unless such person has been actively involved in health, education, or welfare activities pertaining to children for atleast seven years or a practicing professional with a degree in child psychology, psychiatry, sociology or law.
(4) No person shall be eligible for selection as a member of the Board, if he–
(i)has any past record of violation of human rights or child rights;
(ii)has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and such conviction has not been reversed or has not been granted full pardon in respect of such offence;
(iii)has been removed or dismissed from service of the Central Government or a State Government or an undertaking or corporation owned or controlled by the Central Government or a State Government;
(iv)has ever indulged in child abuse or employment of child labour or any other violation of human rights or immoral act.
(5) The State Government shall ensure that induction training and sensitisation of all members including Principal Magistrate of the Board on care, protection, rehabilitation, legal provisions and justice for children, as may be prescribed, is provided within a period of sixty days from the date of appointment.
(6) The term of office of the members of the Board and the manner in which such member may resign shall be such, as may be prescribed.
(7) The appointment of any member of the Board, except the Principal Magistrate, may be terminated after holding an inquiry by the State Government, if he–
(i)has been found guilty of misuse of power vested under this Act; or
(ii)fails to attend the proceedings of the Board consecutively for three months without any valid reason; or
(iii)fails to attend less than three-fourths of the sittings in a year; or
(iv)becomes ineligible under sub-section (4) during his term as a member.
5. Placement of person, who cease to be a child during process of inquiry
Where an inquiry has been initiated in respect of any child under this Act, and during the course of such inquiry, the child completes the age of eighteen years, then, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, the inquiry may be continued by the Board and orders may be passed in respect of such person as if such person had continued to be a child.
6. Placement of persons, who committed an offence, when person was below the age of eighteen years
(1) Any person, who has completed eighteen years of age, and is apprehended for committing an offence when he was below the age of eighteen years, then, such person shall, subject to the provisions of this section, be treated as a child during the process of inquiry.
(2) The person referred to in sub-section (1), if not released on bail by the Board shall be placed in a place of safety during the process of inquiry.
(3) The person referred to in sub-section (1) shall be treated as per the procedure specified under the provisions of this Act.
7. Procedure in relation to Board
(1) The Board shall meet at such times and shall observe such rules in regard to the transaction of business at its meetings, as may be prescribed and shall ensure that all procedures are child friendly and that the venue is not intimidating to the child and does not resemble as regular courts.
(2) A child in conflict with law may be produced before an individual member of the Board, when the Board is not in sitting.
(3) A Board may act notwithstanding the absence of any member of the Board, and no order passed by the Board shall be invalid by the reason only of the absence of any member during any stage of proceedings:
Provided that there shall be atleast two members including the Principal Magistrate present at the time of final disposal of the case or in making an order under sub-section (3) of section 18.
(4) In the event of any difference of opinion among the members of the Board in the interim or final disposal, the opinion of the majority shall prevail, but where there is no such majority, the opinion of the Principal Magistrate, shall prevail.
8. Powers, functions and responsibilities of the Board
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force but save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, the Board constituted for any district shall have the power to deal exclusively with all the proceedings under this Act, relating to children in conflict with law, in the area of jurisdiction of such Board.
(2) The powers conferred on the Board by or under this Act may also be exercised by the High Court and the Children’s Court, when the proceedings come before them under section 19 or in appeal, revision or otherwise.
(3) The functions and responsibilities of the Board shall include’–
(a)ensuring the informed participation of the child and the parent or guardian, in every step of the process;
(b)ensuring that the child’s rights are protected throughout the process of apprehending the child, inquiry, aftercare and rehabilitation;
(c)ensuring availability of legal aid for the child through the legal services institutions;
(d)wherever necessary the Board shall provide an interpreter or translator, having such qualifications, experience, and on payment of such fees as may be prescribed, to the child if he fails to understand the language used in the proceedings;
(e)directing the Probation Officer, or in case a Probation Officer is not available to the Child Welfare Officer or a social worker, to undertake a social investigation into the case and submit a social investigation report within a period of fifteen days from the date of first production before the Board to ascertain the circumstances in which the alleged offence was committed;
(f)adjudicate and dispose of cases of children in conflict with law in accordance with the process of inquiry specified in section 14;
(g)transferring to the Committee, matters concerning the child alleged to be in conflict with law, stated to be in need of care and protection at any stage, thereby recognising that a child in conflict with law can also be a child in need of care simultaneously and there is a need for the Committee and the Board to be both involved;
(h)disposing of the matter and passing a final order that includes an individual care plan for the child’s rehabilitation, including follow up by the Probation Officer or the District Child Protection Unit or a member of a non-governmental organisation, as may be required;
(i)conducting inquiry for declaring fit persons regarding care of children in conflict with law;
(j)conducting at least one inspection visit every month of residential facilities for children in conflict with law and recommend action for improvement in quality of services to the District Child Protection Unit and the State Government;
(k)order the police for registration of first information report for offences committed against any child in conflict with law, under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, on a complaint made in this regard;
(l)order the police for registration of first information report for offences committed against any child in need of care and protection, under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, on a written complaint by a Committee in this regard;
(m)conducting regular inspection of jails meant for adults to check if any child is lodged in such jails and take immediate measures for transfer of such a child to the observation home; and
(n)any other function as may be prescribed.
9. Procedure to be followed by a Magistrate who has not been empowered under this Act
(1) When a Magistrate, not empowered to exercise the powers of the Board under this Act is of the opinion that the person alleged to have committed the offence and brought before him is a child, he shall, without any delay, record such opinion and forward the child immediately along with the record of such proceedings to the Board having jurisdiction.
(2) In case a person alleged to have committed an offence claims before a court other than a Board, that the person is a child or was a child on the date of commission of the offence, or if the court itself is of the opinion that the person was a child on the date of commission of the offence, the said court shall make an inquiry, take such evidence as may be necessary (but not an affidavit) to determine the age of such person, and shall record a finding on the matter, stating the age of the person as nearly as may be:
Provided that such a claim may be raised before any court and it shall be recognised at any stage, even after final disposal of the case, and such a claim shall be determined in accordance with the provisions contained in this Act and the rules made thereunder even if the person has ceased to be a child on or before the date of commencement of this Act.
(3) If the court finds that a person has committed an offence and was a child on the date of commission of such offence, it shall forward the child to the Board for passing appropriate orders and the sentence, if any, passed by the court shall be deemed to have no effect.
(4) In case a person under this section is required to be kept in protective custody, while the person’s claim of being a child is being inquired into, such person may be placed, in the intervening period in a place of safety.