Parents of braveheart Nirbhaya have welcomed the Union Cabinet’s nod to a proposal to change the Juvenile Justice Act to try juveniles in the age group of 16-18 under laws for adults for heinous crimes.
“A juvenile should be tried as per the crime he commits,” said Nirbhaya’s father.
“Good decision, hope that it will soon be implemented,” added her mother.
The issue was brought before the Cabinet a fortnight ago. Rejecting the recommendations of a parliamentary standing committee, the women and child development ministry had decided to go ahead with the proposal.
Several ministers in the Cabinet meeting supported the proposal saying a person accused of crimes like rape should be treated as an adult, a senior minister said after the meeting.
“The new proposed Act (the amendment bill) provides that in case a heinous crime has been committed by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it will be examined by the Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’.
“Since this assessment will be made by the Board which will have psychologists and social experts, it will ensure that the rights of the juvenile are duly protected if he has committed the crime as a child. The trial of the case will accordingly take place as a juvenile or as an adult on the basis of this assessment,” an official statement said.
The amended bill also proposes to streamline adoption procedures for orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children. It establishes a statutory status for the Child Adoption Resources Authority (CARA).
The legislation proposes several rehabilitation and social integration measures for institutional and non-institutional children. It also provides for sponsorship and foster care as completely new measures.
Mandatory registration of all institutions engaged in providing child care is also in the offing.
New offences, including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, use of children by militant groups and offences against disabled children have also been incorporated in the proposed legislation.
The SC had also observed that there was a need to relook at the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act in cases where the accused have committed crimes like rape, murder, dacoity and acid attacks.