Recently on 14 July 2014 Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi emphasized that Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 needs to amended in light of increasing crimes against women committed by juveniles.
Justice Juvenile Act, 2000 was brought in by repealing the earlier Justice Juvenile Act of 1986 so as to bring the law related to care and protection of children in line with the UN Convention on Child Rights, 1989.
The Act defines a juvenile who is 16 years old and provides for children-sensitive approach towards prevention and treatment of underage offenders. It provides for a maximum three years of punishment to an underage offender in a reformatory home.
The demand to amend the JJ Act gained momentum after the brutal Nirbhaya case of December 2012 in which the most brutal offender out of six was below 18 but was given only three years of punishment!
Further, if we see the number of crimes being committed by juveniles or under-18 children, the data provided by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) are shocking. As per NCRB data, there has been 60 percent increase in the rapes committed by under-18 in the year 2013 compared to 2012.
In addition, the poor conditions of reformatory houses, child abuse in such houses, and other issues are deplorable and in no way adds to reducing the number of crimes committed by juveniles.
Thus, in light of the above arguments, it is high time that we amend the JJ Act and treat the juveniles committing heinous crime as adults. Else, the trend of increasing crime committed by juveniles would never see the decline.
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