Indian Juvenile Law

Experts against making changes in Indian Juvenile Law

With the refusal of Supreme court to extend the detention of the juvenile convicted in the 2012 Delhi gangrape, there has been an increasing demand to make necessary changes in the country's juvenile law. The popular opinion is that the law needs to be amended so that the convicts of such heinous crime are awarded severe punishment.

While there have been debates on the required amendments to be made to the Juvenile Bill, experts on the subject are of the opinion that any changes in the juvenile law will be equal to committing crime against the juvenile. At present there is a demand that the law be amended in such a way that 16 to 18 year old accused of heinous crime be treated as adults. With all studies pointing to the fact that there has been a high rate of recidivism whenever juveniles have been treated as adults, many experts are against the inclusion of such a provision in the Juvenile Bill.

According to Justice Leila Seth, one of the members of the three member J S Verma Committee, if a child below the age of 18 years is subjected to a normal trial and a normal jail – then there are no chances for the child's rehabilitation as often they turn into hardened criminals and repeat offenders. Also such a move goes against the United Nations Convention on Child Rights which mandates that 18 years be the cut-off age for children.

The future of the amendments to the Juvenile Law will be clear after a set of debates in Rajya Sabha will take place.

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