Do you know this?

Now we have a new legislation called "Juvenile & Justice Act, 2015" replacing the JJ Act of 2000. In this new act, adoption has assumed a significant importance with an exclusive chapter. Subscribe and follow this blog for more information in the days to come.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What is 'Best Interest of the Child' means anyway?

In Juvenile Justice System, a phrase "Best Interest of the Child" is used very often but many people do not understand the gravity of that phrase.  This following post will attempt to make it plain and simple.  
As per the definition under the JJ rules (2007), 'Best Interest of the Child' means a decision taken to ensure the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and moral development of juvenile or child;

First, it is a decision that means it is a something one has chosen to do knowing well the consequences of doing or not doing and it is not accidental.  Secondly, it is a decision to influence in five different areas of the child's life and lastly, the outcome to derive based on one's decision and that is to achieve development.  Development is one of the four fundamental rights of the child.   

Try to understand the scope of the five areas (Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Social and Moral) that are included in the definition.  It pretty much encompasses every aspect of the child's life.  Let's look at an example pertaining to adoption to understand this phrase little bit more in depth.

Almost all the adoptees have some amount of curiosity to know about their birth family.  Assuming that the adoptive family had talked to the child about his/ her adoption, it is only likely to get stronger and some (not necessarily all) even go to the extent of searching for them.  Searching for the birth family has nothing to do with what the adoptive family may/ may not have done but it is to do with their curiosity to know as it pertains to their past.

Knowing this fact well, adoptive families have a decision to make.  Question one has to ask themselves is 'How will I deal with my child's curiosity to know more about his/ her birth family'?  One of the methods of answering this question would be to understand the concept of best interest of the child.  If it only helps the child's emotional development, then the family must support him/ her.  Support also means what you don't do and that is not snubbing the child's curiosity.  

Also knowing well this fact, if one goes against the best interest of the child for whatever may be the reasons (such as 'Indian culture is different', fear of child leaving the family and fear of unknown etc), they not only contribute to the lack of emotional development (violation of a right) but also the consequences that arise because of it.

No comments: