Bill to amend Juvenile Justice Act introduced in LS

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Maneka Gandhi
New Delhi, Aug 12: The government on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Juvenile Justice Act that will pave the way for 16-18-year-olds to be treated as adults when involved in heinous crimes.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Children) Bill 2014 was introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi. According to the revised act, a juvenile above the age of 16 years and below 18 years, involved in a henious act of crime like rape may be tried as an adult and be given the maximum punishment.

Child Rights activists, on the other hand, debate,"The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012 refused to lower the age of consent from 18 years. But on the other hand, they want to book 17-year-olds. Of course, a 16-year-old knows what sex is, but he or she might not know of the damage a sexual crime might bring about. I do not deny that there might be a rise in rape cases, but we must look at the social conditions that surround the child."

Child rights activist and lawyer Anant Asthana, who participated in a committee that drafted an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act in 2011, feels that a random reading of the NCRB data reeks of mischief, said, "Generalising the data to state that there are more juvenile rapists than ever may not be correct. We must also look at what the law seeks to perform: to contain crime or to reform the children. A child who grows up in a jail will most likely grow up to be a criminal. With my experience with juveniles, I have hardly ever come across repeat sexual offenders. There are too many factors one must look at first - the social conditions around the child, the percentage of the crime committed by the children, influence of drugs etc."

OneIndia News (with inputs from IANS)

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