Juvenile Justice Act inadequate in dealing with juveniles under-16

Source: TOI

What is the news?

The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that the present law (Juvenile Justice Act) dealing with children aged below 16 in heinous-crime cases as juvenile offenders is “totally inadequate and ill equipped”.

Background

Court made the observations on June 25 while dismissing a criminal revision petition regarding bail sought by a 15-year-old boy accused of raping a 10-year-old girl.

  • The boy’s bail plea was denied by the Juvenile Justice Board on February 2. He appealed in the sessions court, which upheld the Juvenile Justice Board’s decision on March 2, after which the boy’s counsel filed a criminal revision petition in the HC.
Also Read: Juvenile Justice Act 2015
What did the court say?

Court made some scathing observations regarding juvenile justice act and the role of the legislature.

  • It remarked that no lessons had been learned from the Nirbhaya case “as the age of a child is still kept below 16 years in heinous offences under Section 15 of the JJ Act. This gives a free hand to delinquents under the age of 16 to commit heinous offences”. It wondered “how many such sacrifices would be needed”. Thus, apparently, despite committing a heinous offence, the petitioner (15-year-old boy in this case) will be tried as a juvenile only because he is less than 16 years old.
  • Also, the present law is present law dealing with children aged below 16 in heinous-crime cases as juvenile offenders is “totally inadequate and ill equipped”.
Also read: Should age threshold under Juvenile Justice Act be lowered?
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