Juvenile Justice Bill 2015: 7 things you should know about the Bill

NEW DELHI: Juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes as Parliament today passed a much-expected bill in this regard against the backdrop of a juvenile convict being released in the gangrape-cum-murder case of December 2012.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee.

The bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over release of juvenile convict in the heinous gangrape-cum-murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012.

Here are 7 salient features of the Bill:

1) The Juvenile Justice Bill was introduced in the Parliament for the first time in 2014. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.

2) The Bill replaces the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 which addresses children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.

3) The Bill will permit juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences.

4) Any 16-18 year old, who commits a ‘serious offence’ (not heinous), maybe tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21.

5) Juvenile Justice Bill and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. The JJB will determine whether to send offender for rehabilitation or will be tried as an adult. CWC will determine institutional care for children in need of care and protection.

6) Rules for eligibility of adoptive parents and procedure for adoption have been included in the Bill; Penalties for cruelty against a child, offering a narcotic substance to a child, and abduction or selling a child have been prescribed.

7) This bill is not in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as ratified by India. The UNCRC states that signatory countries should treat
every child under the age of 18 years in the same manner and not try them as adults. It recommends that those
countries that treat or propose to treat 16-18 year olds as adult criminals, change their laws to align with the
principle of non-discrimination towards children.

8) The bill faces criticism for the possible violation of Articles 14, 21 and 20(1) of the Constitution.