It really breaks one's heart to see the parents of Nirbhaya breaking down after learning that the most violent of all the accused in the horrific Delhi rape and murder case would be released just because he is a juvenile.
If the opposition has decided to go against the mandate of the public and disrupt the Rajya Sabha because they are in majority there, let us hope that the tears of Nirbhaya's parents have an effect on them.
Among the various bills, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) amendment of 2015 is also stuck in the Rajya Sabha.
It was passed by the Lok Sabha nearly 6 months back, but is stuck in the Rajya Sabha and the reasons for this is all well too known to the Indian public.
The importance of passing this bill:
The act defines a juvenile as someone who is 16 years or below. It has been repeatedly stated by several persons that the mental maturity of a 16 is very different today compared to what it would have been 18 years back. The advent of the internet and overdose of television has changed a lot.
Police officers say that making use of this are crime lords and the underworld. They would prefer to appoint a shooter who is below 18 knowing fully well that if arrested he would go into a remand home and not face a trial.
The circumstances have changed a lot today and hence the bill makes the all important amendment which allows for juveniles between the ages of 16 to 18 years to be tried in adult courts if they are found to commit any heinous crimes.
What changes does this amendment offer?
- The Bill replaces the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. It addresses children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.
- The Bill permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences. Also, any 16-18 year old, who commits a lesser, i.e., serious offence, may be tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21 years.
- Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. The JJB will conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether a juvenile offender is to be sent for rehabilitation or be tried as an adult. The CWC will determine institutional care for children in need of care and protection.
- Eligibility of adoptive parents and the procedure for adoption have been included in the Bill.
- Penalties for cruelty against a child, offering a narcotic substance to a child, and abduction or selling a child have been prescribed.