New Delhi, Dec 21: The juvenile justice bill was listed for discussion and passing in the Rajya Sabha on Monday after demands from members, amid protests over the release of the December 16 gang-rape juvenile convict.
As the issue was raised by Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien on Monday morning, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu got the bill added in a supplementary list of business soon after.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, provides for the trial of those between 16-18 years as adults for heinous offences. Also, anyone between 16-18 years who commits a less serious offence may be tried as an adult if he is apprehended after he attains the age of 21.
"The country is watching us (as to) what we are doing. We are discussing commercial courts, real estate (bill)... much more important is the juvenile justice (bill). Put this bill on the agenda, bring this bill," O'Brien said raising the issue in the zero hour.
"It is incumbent upon this house to listen to what is going on outside. Let us rise above politics. Let us discuss and pass this (bill)," he said.
Cutting across party lines, members agreed on the need to pass the bill.
"I think that is the sense of the house," Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was in agreement to take up the bill, adding it was listed repeatedly on several days during the ongoing winter session.
"We are ready to discuss the bill today (Monday) itself. It is listed for tomorrow as well... If the house agrees let us discuss it today, it is a sensitive issue," said Naqvi.
Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill listed for the day should be passed first.
"As far as the juvenile justice bill is concerned, it is not listed today. It should be put in the list tomorrow (Tuesday) and discussed. Today, the SC/ST bill is there and we are committed to passing it today," he said.
The Congress members then raised the issue of Delhi and District Cricket Association, causing an uproar and an adjournment of 15 minutes.
When the house met again, Naidu said the issue needs to be discussed as "there is widespread agitation across the country".
He also said the bill was earlier listed for discussion on December 8, 10 and 11.
Azad, however, said: "If the government is so keen they should have listed it today. They want to give an impression that the opposition is not allowing it."
Kurien said there should not be a "blame game" on the bill.
"When there is full agreement in the house, let us discuss and pass it (juvenile justice bill)," Kurien added.