Stricter norms for membership of Child Welfare Committees

Individuals who receive foreign aid in personal capacity or as members of an organisation will not be eligible

Individuals who receive foreign aid in their personal capacity or as members of an organisation will not be eligible for the membership of Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), the Centre has proposed.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development on Thursday invited comments from various stakeholders to the draft amendments to Juvenile Justice Model Rules, 2016. This follows the passage of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) (JJ) Amendment Bill, 2021, in Parliament earlier this year to empower District Magistrates (DMs) to issue adoption orders which would ensure speedy disposal of cases.

“Any person responsible for receiving foreign contribution in individual capacity or organisation, shall not be eligible to be a Chairperson or Member of the Committee,” say the draft norms.

A CWC is empowered under the JJ Act, 2015 to dispose of cases “for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection, as well as to provide for their basic needs and protection”. Such children include those who are abandoned, orphaned, surrendered or lost. Under the JJ Act, each district should have at least one CWC.

The rule has been proposed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, whose Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said this was being done because “public servants can’t receive foreign contributions under FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010) and a CWC member is a public servant”.

Any person with “past record of violation of human rights or child rights” or “convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude” or suspended from Central or State Government or guilty of child abuse or employing child labour will also be ineligible to be part of the CWC.

The draft rules also empower the central adoption agency CARA to issue No Objection Certificates (NOC) for adoptions by NRIs and OCIs under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, so that they can take the child abroad with them. Earlier, only courts could issue the NOC.

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