Monday, December 14, 2015

Juvenile bill still stuck in Indian Parliament

The controversial Juvenile Justice bill--born in the aftermath of the public anger over the Nirbhaya gangrape--continues to languish in Parliament over a year after it was first mooted. The bill permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be treated as adults for heinous offences like rape, acid attacks and murder and is currently before the Rajya Sabha. The chances of it getting the nod from the Rajya Sabha appear bleak. For one, the ruling BJP does not have a majority in the house and this bill is faced with strong opposition. In fact, just recently several Rajya Sabha members wrote to chairman Hamid Ansari urging that the proposed legislation be sent to a select committee for further consideration.
The bill was first tabled in the LS in August 2014. It was referred to the standing com mittee that submitted its re port in February 2015 recom mending that the provisions for lowering a juvenile's age be dropped. The recommen dations were set aside by the government which kept the original provisions in law and the bill was given the nod by the Cabinet. The bill was passed in the LS in May 2015 and was also tabled in the RS in the last session. It has al ready been listed twice for consideration in this session There have been contrarian views to the proposed law.Some argue that the current law does not act as a deterrent for juveniles committing heinous crimes. Another view is that a reformative approach will reduce likelihood of repeating offences.
Whatever the fate of the bill, it would not affect the term of the juvenile convicted in the Nirbhaya case as a law is unlikely to be imposed in retrospect.
Keep watch on juvenile: Maneka to Rajnath
Union WCD minister Maneka Gandhi met home minister Rajnath Singh Monday to urge that the juvenile convicted in the Nirbhaya gangrape case be kept under observation. She had earlier written to law minister Sadanand Gowda seeking mandatory registration of sex offenders to ensure surveillance on the convicts after release from prison.
The move comes even as the juvenile justice bill, that permits those between the ages of 16-18 years to be treated as adults for heinous crimes, is pending before Rajya Sabha since May. “I wish the Rajya Sabha would allow me to pass this Act, at least it would give relief. They (juveniles) should be kept under watch. At the moment, you are not even allowing me to pass a bill. We are all stuck,“ Gandhi said.

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