New Delhi, Dec 22: Amid pressure from all quarters, Juvenile Justice Bill is scheduled to be taken up by the Upper House Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Government has taken all parties on board to get Bill passed this time.
Earlier BJP and Congress blamed each other for not getting crucial Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill got passed in Lok Sabha in May this year.
Know all about Bill and related issues
Who is considered Juvenile presently?
According to Section 2 (k) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 "juvenile" or "Child" is one who has yet not attained 18 years of age.
Why clamour for new Bill?
Presently, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 deals with Juvenile's involvement in heinous offence.
Experts say that incumbent laws have many flaws. It allows a maximum punishment for any crimes including 'heinous offence' of three years of confinement in a youth reformatory.
There is no provision so that a child can be tried as an adult and be sent to an adult jail in case of crime which is heinous in nature.
Moreover, it does not take into account the orders and directions of the Supreme Court and High Courts relating to determination of the age of the child.
Apart from these current laws have no clarity about concept of parental responsibility
What is in the latest Bill?
The new Bill, replacing Juvenile Justice act 2000 was brought
after massive uproar over December 16 gangrape case in national
The Bill has clarity over many contrasting points in comparison to previous laws.
According to amended Bill provision, now 16 to 18 year olds will be treated as an adults when involved in heinous crimes such as rape and acid attack.
According to PRS, the new Bill has categorized crime in three types of offences.
These are (i) a heinous offence is an offence that attracts a minimum penalty of seven years imprisonment under any existing law, (ii) a serious offence is one that gets imprisonment between three to seven years and, (iii) a petty offence is penalized with up to three years imprisonment.
The Bill will empower the Juvenile Justice Board to decide whether a minor above 16 years involved in heinous crimes is to be sent in a observation home or tried in a regular court.
According to the Bill, Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be established through out the country.
Experts are having divergent views
Legal luminaries are having divergent views about the new Bill. Some supports present amended version of the Bill while some oppose the same.
Experts who oppose the Bill say that if juvenile will be treated
as an adult, it would violate Article 14 (right to equality) and
Article 21 (laws fair and reasonable for all)
The Bill also violates UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which says that all signatory countries must treat every child under 18 as equal. Principal opposition party Congress also argues on the same point.
What is government's take?
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu recently said, "This government was serious to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015. That's why we brought this Bill and listed several times in the last session as well as this session."
"This government had made attempts to pass this Bill by listing several times in Rajya Sabha but could not succeed," he said and blamed it on obstructions by Congress.
"The passage of this Bill will be a tribute to Nirbhaya. We should pass this Bill so that in future such things do not re-occur and it acts as a deterrent. I am hopeful the Bill will be passed tomorrow," Naidu further said.
Congress has agreed to support the amended version of the Bill.
Earlier party had opposed the Bill and said that it was violative of the UN conventions