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Context: The National Commission for the Protection of Children recently issued recommendations for the Juvenile Justice Board to perform a preliminary evaluation under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015.


  • The preliminary examination will determine whether a juvenile can be tried as an adult.
  • The Juvenile Justice Act of 2015, which replaced the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000, for the first time provided for the trial of juveniles aged 16 to 18 as adults in situations of severe offences.

How a child does get tried as an adult?

  • Under the Act, under some situations, a child who is below the age of 18 may be tried as an adult for committing a serious or heinous crime. This means that the child will face the same legal consequences and penalties as an adult offender.
    • However, this is not a common or automatic process. Some certain criteria and procedures must be followed before a juvenile can be transferred to an adult court.
  • One of the main factors that determine whether a juvenile can be tried as an adult is the nature and severity of the crime.
  • According to the Juvenile Justice Act, of 2015, there are three categories of offences committed by children: Petty offences, serious offences, and heinous offences.
    • Petty offences are those punishable with imprisonment of up to 3 years.
    • Serious offences are those punishable with imprisonment between 3 to 7 years.
    • Heinous offences are those punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more.

Procedure for Trying a Juvenile as an Adult

  • According to the JJ Act, 2015, a juvenile is a person who has not completed 18 years of age. However, the Act also provides for a special provision for trying juveniles in the age group of 16-18 as adults in cases of heinous offences.

Step 1: Preliminary assessment by the JJB

  • The JJB is a quasi-judicial body that deals with cases involving children in conflict with the law.
  • Preliminary assessment: It has conducted a preliminary assessment regarding the mental and physical capacity of the juvenile to commit such an offence, the ability to understand the consequences of the offence and the circumstances in which he allegedly committed the offence.
  • The assistance of psychologists: The JJB has to take the assistance of psychologists or experts who have experience working with children in difficult times and undergo training concerning Section 15 of the JJ Act, 2015.
  • Social Investigation Report: The JJB also has to consider the Social Investigation Report or Social Background Report prepared by a probation officer or a social worker after interacting with the child or his family.
    • The JJB has to provide a copy of its order to the child, his family and his legal aid counsel.

Step 2: Transfer of case to the Children's Court

  • If the JJB passes an order that there is a need for the trial of the child as an adult, then it may order the transfer of the case to the Children's Court having jurisdiction to try such offences.
  • The Children's Court is a designated court that deals with cases transferred by the JJB under Section 18 of the JJ Act, 2015.
  • The Children's Court has to conduct a trial in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and may pass any sentence authorised by law except the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of release.


  • The NCPCR guidelines aim to ensure that the preliminary assessment by the JJB is conducted in a fair, transparent and child-friendly manner and that the best interest of the child is safeguarded at every stage. The guidelines also emphasise providing legal aid, counselling and rehabilitation services to the child and his family.

Must Read Articles:

Juvenile Justice Boards: https://iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/juvenile-justice-boards

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/national-commission-for-protection-of-child-rights-ncpcr


Q. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 allows the Juvenile Justice Board to transfer cases of heinous offences by children aged 16-18 years to a Children's Court. However, this provision has been criticized by many human rights activists and child rights experts, who argue that it violates the principle of the best interest of the child and the international conventions that India is a party. Therefore, a question that arises is: What are the legal, ethical and social implications of trying a juvenile as an adult in India?