Amnesty International strongly criticised the proposed amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act. Terming the amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act as having "serious implications", Amnesty International spokesperson Gopika Bashi pointed out that India is a signatory to the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children.
Bashi said that her organisation believes that though children commit crimes, their motivations are different than that of adults, and that they often commit crimes without being aware of the consequences. She also quoted reports by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) which state that children should be treated different from adults due to a different psychology and mindset.
AP Singh, the defence lawyer in the Nirbhaya case, also expressed his disappointment at this change, stating that the amendment was proposed only due to the public outrage over the December 16 rape case.
However, the Delhi office of the BJP has welcomed this amendment. Speaking to ANI, Delhi BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that following the December 16 rape case in Delhi, the country was demanding a change in the act, and this change was a "good decision." Patra added that the amendment to the act was a long pending issue.
Approved by the Union cabinet, the amendment in the Juvenile Justice Act proposes to treat juveniles older than 16 years as adults if involved in heinous crimes such as rape and murder. They, however, cannot be awarded a life sentence or the death penalty.