Smriti Irani: Serious blunders in JJ Act amendment, says Priyanka Chaturvedi

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has written to Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Iragainst the recent amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, classifying serious offences against children as non-cognisable. Chaturvedi has argued that the changes in the law will have a “devastating impact on children as it shields their perpetrators”.

Notably, the Centre had amended the JJ Act 2015 through the JJ amendment Act 2021 that classifies the serious offences against the children as non-cognisable. Serious offences are crimes that attract imprisonment between three and seven years.

In her letter to the Minister, Chaturvedi wrote, “This recent amendment to the Act will have a devastating impact on children as it shields the perpetrators who employ and exploit them for begging, labour, and smuggling drugs. Unfortunately, none of these grave offences will now attract an FIR and automatic investigation because of the recent amendments.”

Taking a dig at the Centre, the Shiv Sena MP said that on the one hand, the government gave the slogan of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, and on the other hand it comes up with an amendment that ensures no mandatory FIRs against “serious” offences against them.

“On one hand, the government talks of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, but on the other, it brings forward an amendment that will ensure no FIRs are registered in serious offences against children except with special permission of the judicial magistrate,” she said.

Hitting out at the government for the amendment, she said that the “blunder” would not have happened if the government had “engaged in meaningful pre-legislative consultation”.

“I am at loss to understand the rationale of the Government’s decision to classify even the sale and procurement of children and their use by militant organisations as non-cognisable. This catastrophic blunder would not have happened if the government had engaged in meaningful pre-legislative consultation and examination by select committees,” she added in her letter.

The Shiv Sena MP made a veiled accusation against the Centre for reducing the crime data by “suppressing the registration of FIRs” and said that it is an injustice to the children.

“It is crucial to reduce crime against children, but merely reducing the data by suppressing the registration of FIRs would only prove counterproductive and is a gross injustice to the Constitution and the children,” she said.

“Therefore, I urge you to rectify this amendment and restore the cognisable status of these offences,” Chaturvedi added.

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