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Many in India have been demanding tougher punishment for juveniles

India toughens law for juvenile crimes

WT24 Desk

The Indian parliament has passed a bill which allows juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age to be tried as adults for serious crimes like rape or murder, The Times Of India, BBC report. At present, those under 18 can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reform facility. he bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over the release of a juvenile convict in the heinous gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012.

“I am satisfied, but sad that my daughter couldn’t get justice,” Nirbhaya’s mother said after passage of the Bill.  “Juvenile Justice Bill which has been passed in RS is a tribute to our daughter,” Nirbhaya’s father said.  Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi who had moved the Bill said, “I’m happy that everyone supported the Juvenile Justice Bill and want to thank everyone.”

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, provides for the trial of those between 16-18 years as adults for heinous offences. Also, anyone between the age of 16-18 who commits a less serious offence may be tried as an adult if he is apprehended after he attains the age of 21.

 Earlier, several parties, including the NCP, CPM and the DMK, pushed for sending the bill to a select committee, arguing that further examination was required to decide whether the age for punitive action should be reduced to 16 years from the current 18 years.
 Moving the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill for consideration and passage, women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi today said the legislation is “compassionate” and comprehensive in nature.She said juvenile crime is the fastest rising segment of crime. “You cannot have a more comprehensive, more nuanced and compassionate Bill,” she said.

Reaching out to the main opposition party, she reminded the Congress that the Bill was theirs and not hers or the NDA government’s. “We may not be able to do anything about the juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya case but we can deter many other boys,” she said.

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