Supreme Court Make Juvenile Law More Deterrent
The Supreme Court has asked the government to make all necessary changes in the current juvenile law in a bid to make it more deterrent and send a stronger message to the society that the life of a victim was equally important under the rule of law. The apex court also observed that it was “extremely difficult” to accept that any juvenile would not be aware of the possible consequences while committing grave crimes such as rape, murder, and robbery. The court further said that the growing involvement of minors in such grave and heinous crimes demanded serious changes in the existing Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
A SC bench led by Justice Dipak Misra said “A time has come to think of an effective law to deal with the situation, we would request the learned Attorney General to bring it to the notice of the concerned authorities so that the relevant provisions under the Act can be re-looked, re-scrutinized and re-visited, at least in respect of offences which are heinous in nature,”
The court's observation came while hearing a case where a murder accused had claimed immunity under the said Act on the grounds that he was a juvenile when he committed the crime. Apparently, The juvenile claiming immunity had allegedly murdered a man for not repaying a debt. Under the provisions of the existing law , a minor if found guilty,is to be sent to a correctional facility for a period upto 3 years depending upon the severity of their crime.
The SC further said, “Whether in such a situation, can it be conceived by any stretch of imagination that the petitioner was not aware of the consequences? Or for that matter, was it a crime committed, if proven, with a mind that was not matured enough? Or the life of the victim is totally immaterial, for five people, including a juvenile, think unless somebody pays the debt, he can face his death,”