Juvenile Justice Bill passed in Rajya Sabha
The Juvenile Justice Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha. The law will now permit kids between "16-18 years to be tried as adults in heinous crime cases." Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi explained that no juvenile offender would be sent to jail directly. Only a psychologist would decide if the offense is committed with an adult-frame-of-mind or 'child-like'.
A 23 year old woman was gang-raped by 6 men in a moving bus on 16 December 2012. 5 of them were adults and were sentenced to death for of rape, murder, unnatural offences and destruction of evidence. However, their execution was stayed by SC.
The juvenile justice board had found the minor guilty in the gang rape of the girl on 16 December 2012. He was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 3 years confinement at a reformatory home under the Juvenile Justice Act. There were debates that the juvenile should be treated as an adult because he was only a few months short of turning 18.
The Lok Sabha passed an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act allowing children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes. The trial of the juvenile, whether as an adult or child, would depend upon Juvenile Justice Board's assessment of the child. Many members had opposed the bill saying that retribution should not be the policy.
The juvenile found guilty in the 2012 gang rape case would be released on 15 December 2015. He is 21 now and had complete his three-year term at the rehabilitation centre. He was reportedly afraid of returning to his village in UP due to the unspeakable crime he committed. Though, he is now an adult, but the law prohibits from him being named.
Ahead of the juvenile convict's release in the Nirbhaya gangrape case, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi expressed helplessness in extending his punishment due to the juvenile law. She said that she was not sure whether justice was delivered but the law was followed in the case. She added that a close watch should be kept on the juvenile in the future.
Nirbhaya's parents have gone to the National Human Rights Commission contending that the juvenile criminal in Nirbhaya case will be a constant threat to the society. They said that his tendency to commit crime (recidivism) was still very high. The Centre and the Delhi government have received notices by NHRC on the complaint. The juvenile is to be released on 15 December 2015.
The Centre has asked the Delhi HC to extend the period of detention of the juvenile involved in the December 16 Delhi gang-rape case. Currently held in an observation home, he is scheduled to be released on December 20. Additional Solicitor General, Sanjay Jain stated that mandatory aspects, including the mental health status of the juvenile were missing from his post-release rehabilitation plan.
The Delhi High Court dismissed Subramanian Swamy's plea to stay the release of the juvenile rapist involved in the gang rape of Nirbhaya in 2012. The juvenile rapist will be released on 20th December 2015 despite Swamy's claim that he was an 'animal' and a menace to society. "We feel cheated. Justice has not been done," said Nirbhaya's parents after the court order.
The SC declined an emergency hearing by the Delhi Commission for Women to stay the release of the juvenile convicted in the Nirbhaya case. The court deferred the hearing to Monday, 21 December. DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal said, "The matter has now become sub-judice. I hope that government and the Delhi Police will wait." The convict is scheduled to be released today.
The juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya case was released from the Timarpaur Correctional Home today, after serving his three year sentence. According to sources, he is under the custody of a NGO, which along with the Juvenile Justice Board, will oversee his assimilation into society. The parents of the victim have opposed the move and are holding a rally at India Gate in protest.
In response to protests by opposition parties and citizen groups, the government has agreed to discuss the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Rajya Sabha on December 22. The move comes after the SC dismissed a plea to stop the release of the juvenile in the Nirbhaya case. The bill seeks to try accused between 16-18 years of age as adults in heinous crimes.