Juvenile Justice Amendment Act Tabled in RS

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New Delhi: Lawmakers in Rajya Sabha will debate the amendments to the Juvenile Bill Tuesday that allows 16 to 18-year-olds accused of heinous crime to be treated as adults. Lost in the outrage riding on a distraught mother’s anguish are voices of dissent that have warned against these amendments, calling them draconian and, in themselves, a crime against children.

These voices, beginning with the Justice J S Verma Committee itself that was formed after the gangrape warn that the amendments put all children at risk across all classes. They include the related Parliamentary standing committee, vice-chancellors of the nation’s top law universities apart, child rights activists and legal scholars.

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The amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, that allow heinous offenders aged between 16-18 to be tried as adults if the juvenile justice board is so inclined, they say, are against established scientific and socio-legal evidence. They also come on the back of a stringent law against child sexual abuse that could end up incarcerating adolescents indulging in “consensual sexual experimentation.”

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