New Delhi, December 22: The ongoing debate over the issue of setting up age limit for punishing a juvenile for crime like rape, terrorism and pity crimes got a boost in the second last day of Winter Session of the Parliament. All the members of the Rajya Sabha for the first time united for a strict punishment, considering a crime like rape convicted by a juvenile. They also echoed their voice on the age criteria of a juvenile.
The Bill that got a two-third majority in the Lok Sabha, was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister for Women and Child Development Meneka Gandhi on Tuesday. The introduction of Bill was done soon after the Juvenile convicted in the infamous Nirbhaya rape case on Monday. Speaking at the Upper House, Gandhi said, “This is a very nuanced bill… some people are oversimplifying this bill. If it is perceived that it was a thought-out, adult and planned crime, it would not be considered a childlike crime.” She was also of the opinion that the age limit for convicting a juvenile for heinous crimes like rape should be decreased from 18 to 16. (ALSO READ: Brinda Karat questions Juvenile Justice Act, says treating 16-year-old as adult among criminal is retrograde)
Echoing his opinion, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien supported the Bill. But, Brien took a very proactibve role in making his point and said that all the parliamentarians need to discuss on why these crimes are taking place in India and will just making a strict law help reduce the number of crimes. Expressing his anger over Nirbhaya’s case, Brien asked, “God forbid if it was my daughter, then would I have hired the best lawyers or taken out the gun and shot the culprits? I say this with full responsibility, inclined to say that I would have taken out a gun and shot the culprits.” (ALSO READ: I am against Juvenile bill, should not be passed: Ram Jethmalani)
Earlier in the afternoon, legislators like Leaders of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anu Aga from CPM too supported the Bill and said that much discussions needs to be done on the Bill. Nabi said, “The juvenile board needs to be made more broad based.” He also said that there should be a separate enclosure for juvenile criminals in jail and they should not be kept with hardened criminals. The Bill that first came into existence first in 1986 by then Rajiv Gandhi set the age to 16, which was increased to 18 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000. However, after the Nirbhaya Rape Case in 2012, the law was made strict. Now the parliamentarians are discussing on the role of Juvenile Justice Board under the current which is likely today. (ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi assures passage for Juvenile Justice Bill, says Nirbhaya’s mother)