On Tuesday, the Rajya Sabha passed the long awaited 'Juvenile Justice Bill'. This bill was first introduced by 'Women and Child Development' minister Maneka Gandhi in August 2014 and was passed in Lok Sabha, only President's assent needs to become law.
Definition of Juveniles as recognized by Law:
According to IPC (Indian Penal Code), no child can be charged with crime until he is at least 7 years old.
Juvenile Justice Bill 2015
According to Juvenile Justice Bill, Juveniles between 16 to 18 years would be treat as an adult for committing heinous crimes such as rape.
Important Characteristics of New Juvenile Justice Bill:
- It will be mandatory to set up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. At least one woman member must have in both.
- If this bill becomes law then Juvenile of 16 years or older will be treat as an adult by the Juvenile Justice Board. Juvenile Justice Board will be consist of a Judicial Magistrate and two social workers as members. In case board treat a Juvenile not as an adult will be sent for rehabilitation.
- Child welfare committee would deal with institutional care for children in their respective districts. The committee will be consist of a chairperson and four members, all specialists in matters relating to children.
- Three types of offences defined by the bill are:
- A 'Heinous Offence' is an offence that attracts a minimum penalty of 7 years imprisonment under any existing law.
- If one gets imprisonment between 3 to 7 years would be treat as a 'Serious Offence'.
- If one gets penalized with up to 3 years imprisonment then it will be consider as 'Petty Offence'.
- This pending bill has been criticized for violation of the convention because India is a signatory to the UN mandates that all children under the age of 18 years be treated equal.