The Supreme Court has rejected the petition to reduce the age of being considered a juvenile from 18 to 16 years and said that those who are accused below 18 years of age, will continue to be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, irrespective of the magnitude of the crime.
Amod Kanth, General Secretary of Prayas, an NGO, that looks after juvenile needs and rights, opposed the petitions in the Court and said that 18 is the age when a child becomes an adult and he acquires right to vote, right to drive, right to marry and right to legal action. Under no circumstance can a child be deprived of these basic rights by reducing the age of juvenile to 16 years.
"Its good news that Supreme Court has given its verdict that it would not interferer with the Juvenile Justice act. Under Section 2 (k) and (l) of the juvenile care and protection act 2000, the Supreme Court said it will not make any changes and the provisions in the Juvenile Justice act will remain unaffected," he said.
He further said that the Juvenile Justice Board would decide this case entirely based on the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Supreme Court judgment will not have any bearing on the Juvenile Justice Board.
"The SC has given this judgement only upholding the definition of a child and also upholding the provisions of the JJ Act," he said.
"Juvenile Justice Act Care and Protection under Section 2 (k) and (l) defines the juveniles, and that definition has been upheld in the first place. And the court has accepted the validity of the Juvenile Justice Act provisions as also the validity of 18 years as the age of the child," he added
The brutal gang rape and murder of a 23 year old paramedical student by six men on a moving bus in South Delhi area on December 16 last year, left the nation outraged and shocked.
The victim died of internal injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
The victim's family has led calls for the accused teenager to be tried as an adult, alongside five men initially arrested over the brutal gang-rape (ANI)