New Delhi: In an effort to curb
discrimination against minors suffering from communicable
diseases, Government is all set to amend an act providing for
the care and protection of children.
The draft bill to amend the Juvenile Justice (care and
protection of children) Act, seeks to prohibit authorities
from sending minor children to mental asylums, and separate
treatment for those suffering from diseases such as leprosy
According to the amendments, instead of sending such
children to mental asylums, the authorities will have to
ensure their proper treatment and such persons would not be
allowed to be abandoned in asylums.
The provisions of the new draft bill state that terms
such as "mental disorder" should not be used while referring
The Union Law Ministry, with which the amendment is
under consideration, has advised removal of a section from the
JJ Act, which provided for a juvenile suffering from any
communicable diseases to be treated separately.
According to the new draft, "Section 48 (2) which
states that a juvenile or a child found to be suffering from
leprosy, sexually transmitted disease, Hepatitis B, open cases
of Tuberculosis and such diseases and is of unsound mind,
should be dealt with separately through referral services,
shall be omitted."
Minors suffering from other diseases will no more be
segregated, but will be treated by the authorities.
In its amendment proposed to section 58 of the Act, it
has stated: "If it appears to the competent authority that any
juvenile or child kept in a special home, is mentally ill or
addicted to alcohol or drugs, leading to behavioural changes,
he may be sent to a psychiatric hospital or nursing home."
As of now, the Act provides for such children to be
removed to be kept at other centres for the entire period of
their stay at the juvenile home.
This is for the second time that the Juvenile Justice
Act, also referred to as JJ Act will be amended. The Act,
which came into being in 1986, was earlier amended in 2000.
The amendments were mooted to keep the Act in sync
with the UN Charter on Child Rights.