A parliamentary committee rejected the government’s proposal to try as adults juveniles between 16 and 18 years involved in heinous cases such as rape, saying the move is “in conflict with law” and should be “reviewed”.
Giving its observation on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD said children below 18 years are amenable and should be treated in the same manner and “differential treatment” for children above 16 years of age “should not arise”.
The report of the committee comprising J P Nadda and Satyanarayan Jatiya was submitted in Parliament today.
The comprehensive bill to tackle increasing crimes committed by youngsters aged between 16-18 years like the Delhi gangrape case and to ensure proper care and protection of needy children was introduced in Lok Sabha last August.
Increasing cases of crimes committed by children aged 16-18 years in recent years makes it evident that the current provisions and system under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 “are ill equipped to tackle child offenders in this age group”, the statement of objects and reasons of the bill said.
Referring to the views expressed by the stakeholders about a clause of trying an offender apprehended after the age of 21, the committee said that it was in full agreement with them that the provision was “discriminatory” and all children below 18 years should be treated as children.
“The proposed legislation is meant for children alleged and found to be in conflict with law. And the definition of both the term ‘child’ and ‘child in conflict with law’ means a person who has not completed 18 years of age.
“Accordingly the question of envisaging a differential treatment for children above 16 years of age should not arise. Such a move would lead to contravention of international law and also the stated purpose of the bill,” the committee said.
“The committee accordingly recommends that the entire process needs a relook and review,” it underlined.