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Can’t have cut-off date for crime, need to revisit juvenile law: SC

Days after Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi called for treating juveniles accused of heinous crimes like rape on par with adult offenders, the Supreme Court too has pressed for a more stringent Juvenile Justice Act.

“You can’t have a cut-off date for crime like you have for government jobs,” the Supreme Court was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

The reaction from the apex court holds significance in the wake of concerns expressed by Gandhi and her UPA predecessor Krishna Tirath, who had also proposed that juveniles above 16 years guilty of heinous crimes be treated on par with adult offenders.

Gandhi triggered a fresh debate when she said, “50 per cent of all sexual crimes were committed by 16-year-old who are fully aware about the Juvenile Justice Act so they can do it.”

Gandhi also said that she would bring changes in the law and the process would be personally monitored by her.

This is at odds with the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, which was formed after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape to amend the criminal justice act. A report by the panel stated that the age ceiling of 18 must be maintained as the aim of the Juvenile Justice Act is to reform the child offender.

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