Juvenile Justice Bill, 2015
The word Juvenile refers to a young and immature person; Juvenile delinquency refers to the illegal behavior of minors. The Bill was proposed as a result of the Delhi Gang Rape case of 16th December 2012 wherein it was found that one of the convict was only six months short of becoming a major, i.e. 18 years of age. He was tried under JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT,2000 in which the maximum punishment amounts to three years of confinement in the juvenile home.
A case in England, known as the infamous James Bulger case in 1993. Here, a 2 year old child was murdered by two 10 year olds and hence, they were tried as adults and were convicted for life.
Subramanian Swamy, A BJP leader filed a PIL in honorable SUPREME COURT OF INDIA that the boy should be tried under INDIAN PENAL CODE as an adult and not the JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT for the case. Also, there arose a mass public protest with respect to the same. Women and child minister Maneka Gandhi said that the ministry is preparing a new law in which the juvenile
aged between 16-18 would be treated as an adult and under INDIAN PENAL CODE for the heinous crimes. Serious offences which would lead to 3-7 years of imprisonment. Petty offences which would be for below 3 years of imprisonment. Another point to note here is that a juvenile cannot be given life imprisonment ‘without the possibility of release or death penalty’.
The bill omits a provision from the Act (JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT 2000) which provided for the separate treatment of juveniles or children suffering from leprosy, sexually transmitted disease, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, or with unsound minds.
The Bill is not just about juvenile offenders and what happens to them. There are other provisions also, including those on foster care and easing of adoption rules.
Foster care would enable children to be placed with willing families instead of children’s homes, and the government would pay for this. It seeks to make Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) a statutory body, which means it will have powers to regulate inter-country adoptions, and issue guidelines on adoption and related matters.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires all signatory countries to treat every child under the age of 18 years as equal. The provision of trying a juvenile as an adult contravenes the Convention.
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