Cabinet approves trial of juveniles at 16 as adults


New Delhi: The Juvenile Justice Act will be changed to allow for trial of juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years accused of heinous crimes under the Indian Penal Code, with the Modi government bowing to public clamour for tough deterrent against young criminals who go unpunished because of the lenient provisions under the law.

As per the changes cleared by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, Juvenile Justice Boards will determine whether a juvenile accused of a heinous crime ought to be treated as a “child” or adult”. The proposed Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill also provides for the classification of different crimes as “petty”, “serious” and “heinous”, providing for differentiated processes for each category.

Under the existing law, only those 18 years and above are tried under IPC. The decision heeds the demand for tougher punishment for the hardened among “juvenile criminals”, which spiked in the wake of the Nirbhaya gang-rape in Delhi in December 2012. One of the accused in the crime which shook the nation because of its sheer monstrosity is a juvenile who was the most brutal of the gang which ravaged the young physiotherapy student.

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