Nirbhaya case: Can't take away right of a person in absence of law, says SC

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New Delhi, Dec 21: With the Supreme Court dismissing the plea filed by the Delhi Commission for Women seeking a stay on the release of the juvenile convicted in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case, it once again puts the ball back on the Rajya Sabha to pass the all important Among the various bills, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) amendment of 2015.

While rejecting the plea, the Supreme Court made it clear that it cannot take away the right of a person in the absence of a law.

Nirbhaya's parents hope for justice

When the law today clearly states that a juvenile is one who is below the age of 18 no amount of petitions before any court can address the problem. Had the amendment been passed in the Rajya Sabha a new law would have been in place and this would have permitted persons between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences.

Legal experts state that in the absence of the amendment, even the Supreme Court of India cannot intervene in such matters. The most the Supreme Court can do in such cases is suggest to the the government of India.

Rajya Sabha may pass new law:

It is common knowledge that there has been nothing but ruckus in the Rajya Sabha off late. Among a host of other bills the 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.

However, now there seems to be a consensus and all parties have come together with an assurance to at least pass this bill in the interest of society. The bill if passed becomes a law and would offer a host of changes to the act which many have termed as flawed.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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