The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 came into force from January 15, 2016.
The Act replaces the earlier Juvenile Justice Act of 2000.
Under the new JJ Act 2015, juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age, who are found guilty of committing heinous offences through a preliminary inquiry by the Juvenile Justice Board, will be sent to a children’s court that can pronounce the child guilty. Such juveniles can be detained in a ‘place of safety’ until they reach the age of 21. If still not found to have been “reformed” by 21, they can be sent to jails housing adults.
Under the new law, children between the ages of 16 years and 18 years who commit heinous crimes can now be tried as adults. This will be after the Juvenile Justice Board conducts a preliminary investigation to determine the severity of the offence, the circumstances of the offender and ability of the juvenile to understand the consequences of his or her actions. The law gives the option to the court to direct that the offender in such a case should complete the remainder of his or her term in a jail.
Other Countries - In England and Wales, for several offences, children above the age of 10 are held to be criminally liable.
In Australia, the prescribed age is 14-18 years for children to be responsible for their actions under criminal law.
In the United States, many states have the age of 12 years for holding children responsible for criminal acts. In New York and Texas, the age is 17 years.
In Bangladesh, it is 16 years and in Denmark, it is 15 years.