New Delhi, April 7: Expressing serious concern over juveniles' involvement in various heinous crimes, the Supreme Court has said that there is need to re-examine various laws whether it needs to be changed.
The Apex Court on Monday asked the government to see whether necessary changes could be done in present laws to have a deterrent effect.
The judgment apparently was given after it has been found that cases where juveniles involving in heinous crimes like murder and rape have gone up recently.
In 2013, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking a direction to the Centre to take steps to make changes in the Juvenile Justice Act 2000.
With the request that the juveniles should be tried under normal law in offences like rape and murder, the petitioners had demanded that immunity to juveniles under the Act be removed .
What the Court said
The apex court on Monday asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to consult competent authorities and suggest to it whether the relevant laws can be "re-looked, re-scrutinized and re- visited" for sending a message to the society that life of the victim was equally important under the rule of law. It said the spurt in involvement of minors in heinous crimes like rape, murder and dacoity stressed the imperative need to mull changes in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
"A time has come to think of an effective law to deal with the situation, we would request the learned Attorney General to bring it to the notice of the concerned authorities so that the relevant provisions under the Act can be re-looked, re-scrutinized and re-visited, at least in respect of offences which are heinous in nature," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant said.
The bench was hearing an appeal against the decision of Punjab and Haryana High Court awarding life sentence to a murder accused. The accused has claimed that he was below 18 at the time of crime and cannot be tried by a regular court. The maximun punishment for a delinquent under the juvenile can be three years detention in a remand home. The accused in the case was held guilty along with four others for allegedly killing a man for not repaying the debt.
"Whether in such a situation, can it be conceived by any stretch of imagination that the petitioner was not aware of the consequences? Or for that matter, was it a crime committed, if proven, with a mind that was not matured enough? "Or the life of the victim is totally immaterial for five people, including a juvenile, (and that) unless somebody pays the debt, he can face his death," the bench observed.
(With inputs from PTI)