Parties seek early passage of juvenile Bill

Parties seek early passage of juvenile Bill

Parties seek early passage of juvenile Bill
Cutting across party lines, lawmakers today sought the passage of the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act at the earliest amidst the clamour over the release of the juvenile convict in the December 16 gangrape case even as BJP and Congress traded charges over the delay in clearing of the legislation.

Following the Supreme Court's dismissal of a plea against the release of the juvenile offender, the focus has shifted to the proposed amendments and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that "the government is ready and very keen to pass this juvenile Bill".

"We are ready to bring supplementary agenda for this today itself," he said outside Parliament. Targeting Congress, he added that "the Bill has been thrice listed in the past for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha; however, the House has not been able to run".

"Because of the Opposition, particularly Congress, the Bill till date has not been passed. There is concern and outrage in the country," he said while urging the party to facilitate the passage of the Bill.

"I would appeal to Congress to please help in getting the Bill passed. I hope it will cooperate," said Prasad. TMC leader Derek O'Brien said the various parties should rise above politics and allow the passage of the Bill.

"The nation wants this Bill passed. In the next two days, parties should rise above politics and pass this Bill. I appeal to the Congress party for it," he said.

O'Brien asked the government to list the Bill as soon as possible, saying that would allow a detailed discussion on the proposed amendments, including the provision allowing for children between 16-18 years to be tried as adults in cases of heinous crime.

"We want the government to list this Bill as soon as possible. It should be listed today or tomorrow. We should discuss this Bill for 4-5 hours, move the amendments and pass it before Wednesday. No deliberate delaying tactics on this, the issue is very serious," he said.

But stating that "the Nirbhaya accused will not be affected even if it (the Bill) is passed, Congress leader Pramod Tiwary charged that the "government is guilty for the release of the accused and of not being able to pass the Bill".

Union Minister Uma Bharati said she will appeal to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to allow passage of the Bill in the interest of the girls in the country.

"I would also tell Nirbhaya's parents that the court decision was within the criminal law of the country. We have to change the law and we are ready to do so. This is an issue of concern for the country that because he was not 18 years old, he went free," she said.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar blamed the Congress for "obstructing" legislative business and echoed his party colleague Prasad in stating that the government had listed the Bill, which has already been passed by Lok Sabha, thrice in Rajya Sabha during the ongoing session.

"There is an obvious anger in the country against the release of the juvenile accused in the Nirbhaya case. The Bill was listed three times, but the is Congress not allowing the session to work and justice is not being delivered to Nirbhaya," he said.

"The government is sensitive and has placed the Bill before the House... But Congress was in disruption mode.

"We have already shown our willingness and are ready to list it in the supplementary agenda today if they want to pass it. But they do not want to pass it, they want to disrupt only," he further charged.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat explained that even if the amendments to the Act were passed, the new provisions would not apply retrospectively to the juvenile convict in the December 16 gangrape case.

"It's wrong thinking that if the amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act are effected then all cases in previous years would be reopened. The amendments will be discussed by the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha," she said questioning those who offered "wrong assurances" to the parents of the victim in the December 16 case.

Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury wondered who would be held "responsible" if the convict, who was released and sent to an NGO yesterday, commits an offence in the future.

"It's not enough to just say that he was released as per the law. Who will be responsible if he takes any step in future?" she asked.

SP leader Ramgopal Yadav blamed "politics" for the delay in the passage of the Bill.
"The same Bill has been listed thrice in the House. But who has not allowed the Bill to pass? Those who are not allowing it to be passed should be blamed for it (release of the juvenile convict)," he said.

He added, meanwhile, that "probably the Bill is coming tomorrow. When it will come it will be passed".
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