Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, which was passed by Lok Sabha on dated 07th May 2015, got the assent of the Rajya Sabha on dated 22nd December 2015. Now it will be sent for the approval of the Honourable President of India. Once the bill gets the consent of the President of India, it will replace the present Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)
Act, 2000 and will come into existence as a Law, from the date notified in the official gazette.
What was the need to bring about a change in the present Act? – The brutal gang rape with ‘Nirbhaya’ on 16th December 2012, which shook up the entire nation and the social outburst, as well as, the media coverage after that incidence was actually the trigger point that led to the amendment in the present Act.
What was the demand of the society? – The foremost demand of the common people was that the juvenile who are involved in heinous offences should be treated and tried at par, with the adult offenders, and the law should ensure that there is a provision of severe punishment for the convicts “irrespective of age”, in all such cases.
The two major changes incorporated in the Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014 – The two major changes brought about in the bill are that Firstly, the age of the juvenile involved in heinous offences is reduced from 18 years to 16 years and Secondly, the tenure of imprisonment in heinous offences is increased from maximum term of 3 years to maximum term of 7 years -10 years.
The questions that strike in the mind of the common men – Are those changes enough to curb the involvement of juveniles in heinous offences? Are the provisions inserted in the said bill fair enough to bring down the occurrence of brutal cases? What if any juvenile, who is below the age of 16 years, is found convicted of any heinous offence? Did we succeed in sending the right message to the criminals? Was it a real tribute to ‘Nirbhaya’, in the sense, that we did our level best to ensure that no such incidence will happen in future? Can we look into the eyes of the woman and say that we did something that will ensure that the new dawn will be much safer for them? Are we even aware of what we are seeding for the generations to come?
Well, as a common man what I feel is that, we once again failed to send a strong message to the criminals who are involved in all such inhuman acts, we once again failed to introduce a strong law against the criminals involved in heinous offences, we once again failed to save humanity from getting shattered. I may sound illogical to the lawmakers but my eyes can foresee that nothing is going to change with the recent amendments. ‘Nirbhaya’ (Fearless) is going to be blown out, every now and then, by the cyclones of criminals and the sufferers will always be the woman and their families. The reality is that we are not serious about the safety of women. Although, in our country, we worship woman as a Goddesses, but in our deeds, we don’t care about anything that is concerned with them. We failed to show that we have a zero tolerance against any heinous offence. Laws should be made to protect the innocent, to have a fear among the hearts of the criminals, but not to give the offenders an opportunity to escape.
Herewith, I would like to quote the following paragraph extracted from my other Blog “16th December 2012 – The Night that never saw the Dawn”. “Today on 20th December 2015, one of the culprits is set free on the ground that he was a juvenile at the time when he raped that innocent girl. Can a person, who was involved in a brutal gang rape, wherein the inhuman males went to the extent of inserting a rusted iron rod in the genital organs of a girl and assaulting her so bad that even her intestine is reported to have come out of the body, set free merely because he was a juvenile? What kind of a society we are breeding by such laws? Aren’t we conveying the message that the juvenile has all the freedom to do, as they wish because the maximum imprisonment is of 3 years? It’s a humble request that please stop discriminating the culprit with age, gender, caste, creed, colour etcetera. They are ‘Inhuman’…Period”.
Now, it is for each one of us to introspect that are we taking the desired lessons from our past, to act soundly in our present, for a better future or not? I wish that the almighty give us the good sense to think for the sake of humanity, as a whole.