Nirbhaya parents welcome move to lower juvenile age

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS): The parents of the Dec 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape victim Thursday welcomed the government move to lower the age at which juveniles can be tried for heinous crimes, saying the step was urgently needed to check crimes committed by juveniles.

The cabinet Wednesday decided to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 that will pave the way for 16/18-year-olds to be tried in adult courts for heinous crimes.

"Since the Dec 16 incident, crimes involving juveniles are said to have gone up considerably. There was an urgent need to put a break on such incidents and this move by the government will help in doing so," the father of the rape victim told IANS.

He added that once the amendment is approved by parliament, crimes involving juveniles would come down drastically.

"In most cases, the accused juveniles are in the age bracket of 16 to 18 years. They brazenly commit the crimes as they know that they would escape with minimal punishment. However, if the amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act is approved, it will at least create a sense of fear in such juveniles and help bring down crimes by 50 percent," the father added.

His 23-year-old daughter, a trainee physiotherapist, was brutally gang raped inside a moving bus here by six people Dec 16, 2012, leading to grievous injuries which caused her death later. One of the rapists, who police said was the most brutal, was a juvenile.

The gruesomeness of the rape and her injuries had led to demands by her parents that the juvenile be tried as an adult for the crime and be given the death sentence. But he was tried under the juvenile law and is serving a three-year term in a reformatory home.

However, the amendment will empower Juvenile Justice (JJ) Boards to take a call on whether to treat 16/18-year-olds as adults in cases of heinous crimes.

Such convicted juveniles may face a jail term but will not be awarded life sentence or death penalty.

In another case Tuesday involving juveniles, five people of whom three are juveniles, were apprehended for murdering a young man in broad daylight in a crowded lane at Madangir in south Delhi. The three juveniles have been sent to a juvenile home.

According to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, if an accused person is found to be a juvenile (under 18 years), he is tried by the JJ Board and, if convicted, is sent to a juvenile home for a period of three years.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said in the Lok Sabha last week that the move to amend the act was to make it a deterrent for child offenders committing such crimes and also protect the rights of the victim.

In the Shakti Mills gang rape incidents in Mumbai, in which a photojournalist and a call centre employee were gang raped in 2013, the Juvenile Justice Board awarded correctional sentence to two juveniles.

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Title: Nirbhaya parents welcome move to lower juvenile age

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