Centre to pursue Juvenile Justice Bill

Centre to pursue Juvenile Justice Bill

The Women and Child Development ministry will pursue the controversial Juvenile Justice Bill despite all-round opposition from rights groups and legal experts. 

Sources in the ministry claim that Union Minister Maneka Gandhi is not ready to reconsider the bill which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. The bill is yet to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority. 

“She had laboured hard to get it approved from the Cabinet. A group of ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley considered the Bill and approved it for the consideration of the Cabinet. 

“It was not easy. There were differences over the provision of prosecuting children between 16 and 18 as adults for heinous crimes. The members of the group could be convinced only after a long persuasion,” said a ministerial source. 

Meanwhile, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has opposed the bill and demanded that some provisions of the bill should be scrapped.  

The PUCL says that this amendment is creating a new class of juvenile offenders by differentiating between children between 16-18 years and those below 16 years and it violates the UN Child Rights Convention, which clearly provides that all signatory countries should treat every child under the age of 18 years “in the same manner” and not try them as adults as this will be discriminatory towards children. 

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