Published On : Thu, May 7th, 2015

LS passes Juvenile Justice Act, will allow trial of minors accused of heinous crimes as adults

NewDelhi/Nagpur: The central government on Thursday moved the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Lok Sabha which will allow children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes.

According to data from National Crime Records Bureau, crimes by juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years have increased, especially in certain categories of heinous crimes.

The bill states that in case a heinous crime has been committed by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it will be examined by a Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’.

The trial of the case will take place accordingly by the board which will consist of psychologists and social experts. The legislation, which would replace the existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, was proposed in view of increasing number of serious offences being committed by persons in the age group of 16-18 years.

The number of murder cases against juveniles rose from 531 in 2002 to 1,007 in 2013. Similarly, cases of rape and assault with intent to outrage the modesty of women have gone up from 485 and 522 in 2002 to 1,884 and 1,424 in 2013 respectively.

In 2013, 933 cases of kidnapping and abduction were registered against juveniles, which was 704 in 2012. According to Women and Child Development Ministry, more than 250 civil society organisations, individuals and experts had given their comments on the draft Bill which were taken into consideration before giving it a final shape.

New offences, including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, use of children by terrorist groups and offences against disabled children have also been incorporated in the proposed legislation.

The amended bill also proposes to streamline adoption procedures for orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children by making mandatory registration of all institutions engaged in providing child care.

The legislation proposes several rehabilitation and social integration measures for institutional and non- institutional children. It provides for sponsorship and foster care as completely new measures.