'Proposal to divert children into adult justice system regressive'

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Kolkata, Dec 6: The Indian government's proposal to divert cases of children committing heinous crimes into the adult criminal justice system under the Juvenile Justice Bill is a "regressive step" and goes against national and international standards, according to a child rights expert.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which is related to adoption and foster care, proposes to create a framework where children, in the age group of 16-18 years and who have committed heinous crimes, could also be tried under the adult justice system if the circumstances warrant so, the women and child development ministry said.

"The Government of India by proposing to divert children committing heinous crimes into adult criminal justice system is not only taking a regressive step, but is also going against both the national standard pertaining to the Constitution of India and international standards such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child," said Puja Marwaha, CEO, Child Rights and You (CRY), in a statement.

Marwaha stressed on the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act in both letter and spirit.

"There is a purpose, thought and body of knowledge behind the Juvenile Justice System. This move actually questions the very premise that has led to the establishment of the Juvenile Justice system," Marwaha added.

"We do believe that an amendment to lower the age of a child would violate the very right to equality, life and liberty and would go against the principle of the best interests of the child," she said.

The central government Friday said there was no change in its position on the Bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha in August.

IANS

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