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.

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.”