Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

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Author : Tamanna pankaj
Published on : July 30, 2016

Tamanna pankaj's Profile and details
i am tamanna pankaj . i am a final year student of law and will basically writes about the latest legal decisions and amendments by the judiciary

Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2015

This article basically talks about the new juvenile act of 2015 and the questions and criticism which have emerged with the introduction of this Act. The biggest question which has emerged is that the reduction of juvenile age by judiciary is justified or not. Different people have different views regarding it. This article basically deals with the various provisions of this new juvenile act 0f 2015, how the act was passed and the reasons behind passing of this act, the criticism that this act faced and my point of view about this act.

So let’s just begin with some basic information regarding the juvenile act, 2015.The juvenile Act, 2015 or we can say that the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) act, 2015 was passed by the parliament of India. This act was passed by lok sabha on 7th May 2015 and passed by rajya sabha on 22th December 2015 and finally came into force from 15th January 2016.The aim to amend the juvenile justice act, 2000 into juvenile justice act,2015 is to replace the existing Indian juvenile delinquency law, juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act,2000, so that juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18,involved in Heinous offences , can be tried as adults.

The reason because of which the judiciary finds a need to amend the law was the decision of 2012, Delhi Gang Rape case, probably known as Nirbhaya Case. After 2012 Delhi gang rape case, the accused in the case was a few months away from being 18 hence tried in the juvenile court. On July 2013 , Subramanian swami , a BJP politician filed a Public interest litigation in the supreme court of India seeking that the boy be tried as an adult in a court. Thereafter court asked the juvenile court to delay its verdict. After the supreme court allowed the juvenile court to give its verdict, the boy was sentenced to 3 years in a reform home on 31august 2013.The victim’s mother criticized the verdict of the court and said by not punishing the juvenile the court was encouraging other teenagers to commit similar crimes. Because of this dissatisfaction towards the court verdict , minister of women and child development , Maneka Gandhi said that they were preparing a new law which will allow 16-year-olds to be tried as adult. She said that 50% of the juvenile crimes were committed by teens who know that they will get away with it. She added that changing the law, which will allow them to be tried for murder and rape as adults will scare them.

The bill was introduced in the parliament by Maneka Gandhi on 12th august 2014. The bill will allow a juvenile justice board, which would include psychologists and sociologists to decide whether a juvenile criminal in the age group of 16-18 should be tried as an adult or not. The bill adopt several new features which were missing in the earlier act like it adopts the concept of Hague convention and cooperation in respect of Inter-country adoption ,1993. The bill also seeks to make adoption process of orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children more streamlined. One of the most criticized step in the new juvenile justice bill 2015 is introduction of “judicial waiver system” which will allow treatment of juveniles in certain conditions, in the adult criminal justice system and to punish them as adults. For the first time in India that such provisions have been applied.

This bill faced a lot of criticism when introduced. This bill was referred to the standing committee of the parliament which also rejects such provisions but as we know the opinions and decisions of the standing committee is not binding. The bill was also criticized for prescribing opaque age discrimination system and is poorly draft .Shashi tharoor , an INC member of parliament (MP) argued that the law was in contradiction with the international standards and that most children who break the law come from poor and illiterate families. He said that they should be educated instead of being punished. The bill was also criticized by the child rights activists and women rights activists by calling it a regressive step. Retired judge of Delhi high court , justice R.S. sodhi on 8 august 2015 told Hindustan times , “ we are civilized nation and if we become barbaric by twisting our own laws, then the enemy will succeed in destroying our social structure . We should not allow that but we must condemn this move of sending children to fight their war.“

As seen above we talked about the criticism which this bill faced but the ground reality for introduction of this bill is totally opposite. This bill should be considered as a demand of time. As we know the social and economic conditions of a country changes with the time and with the changing social conditions the law of the country needs to be amended which is even provided by our constitution. The juvenile act was introduced in the year 2000 .The social conditions at that time was different and the law was made according to that conditions but after 16 years allot many changes and technologies have been introduced in the society and that has resulted in a big change in the mindset of the teenagers who are becoming mature in a early age now and they can clearly judge what is right and wrong and if still they are committing crimes like rape it cannot be justified and is surely been a punishable offence.

Secondly as it is said by the victim’s mother in the Delhi gang rape case of 2012 that this concept of not punishing children because they are below 18 is leading as an encouragement to the teenagers to commit similar crimes.

Thirdly if we talk about this new act , this act totally deals with punishing children involved in crimes which are sort of well planned crimes , which creates a sense that the person committing the crime clearly know about what he is doing and still committing it, the crimes which are heinous in nature like rape and murder, dacoity or kidnapping.

This new act should be considered as the biggest legal reform by the Indian judiciary and should be welcomed and implemented fairly and considered as a move towards stopping crimes by the teenagers of country by creating a sense of fear of punishment in the minds of teenagers by introduction of such type of laws.