The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, giving the Juvenile Justice Board the power to decide whether a juvenile above 16 years involved in heinous crimes such as rape can be sent to a correctional centre or tried in a regular court. All Central ministries have given their approval to the proposed amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
The proposed changes in the law come against the backdrop of outrage over the lighter punishment of three years in a reform home given to a minor convicted in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang-rape case.
However, according to the Bill, in no case the juvenile involved in a heinous crime will be sentenced to death or life imprisonment either when tried under the provisions of the JJ Act or under the provisions of the IPC.
Union Cabinet minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi had earlier last month, commented that according to the police, 50% of all sexual crimes were committed by "16-year-olds who know the Juvenile Justice Act so they can do it." "But now for premeditated murder, rape, if we bring them into the purview of the adult world, then it will scare them," she said. She, like her UPA predecessor Krishna Tirath, proposed that juveniles above 16 years guilty of heinous crimes be treated on par with adult offenders. She also said that she would oversee changes in the law and the process related to the same.
Apart from that, the amendments also include facilitating faster adoption of children and setting up foster care homes. The WCD Ministry intends to make the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) the statutory body, which means it will have powers to regulate inter-country adoptions along with issuing guidelines on adoption and related matter.
Crimes don't have cut-off dates like government jobs: Supreme Court on a stricter Juvenile Justice act
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, pressed for a more strict and detailed Juvenile Justice act. The statement appears days after Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi demanded to treat juveniles accused of rape on par with adults. "You can't have a cut-off date for crime like you have for government jobs," the Supreme Court was quoted as saying on Tuesday. "If they are old enough to commit crime, they are old enough to handle punishment" said Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, Jay Panda. Read more
(With PTI inputs)