Should Juvenile Laws Be Amended?

I do not support the cause for amendment of Juvenile Laws. I am with the people who believe that amendment in juvenile act will be counter-productive.

The demands for reducing the age of juvenility from 18 to 16 and to remove minors involved in heinous crimes from the ambit of juvenile justice act purely on the basis of the Delhi gang-rape case is a “knee-jerk reaction”.  It would be “counter-productive” and “not a deterrent”. Such amendments under public pressure based on one incident will have long-term dangerous consequences on the plight of lakhs of other juveniles.

One incident cannot be a reason to disturb the well thought-out purpose of the law – it will not only disturb the momentum of efforts to improve protection of children but also open a Pandora’s box wherein similar demands will be made for several other offences committed by a juveniles considered serious in nature.

I think lowering the age of juvenile in Juvenile Justice Act is not a solution. This is neither going to bring more justice to Delhi gang-rape case nor is it going to solve the issue of crime against women. The problem is that the Juvenile Justice Act as it exists is not implemented properly.

I would rather suggest suggests that juveniles involved in heinous crimes should be made to stay in juvenile homes or observation homes for longer period of time and could be subjected to more restrictions so that the whole process will be reformative and they need not to stay with other adult criminals.

Everyone is concerned about the rape and murder of the 23-year old physiotherapy student in Delhi but what about so many abandoned children in our country? The best way to ensure that juveniles do not get involved in horrific crimes is by effective enforcement of various provisions of the act and creating an effective system to deal with children in need of care and protection.

While condemning the ghastly gang rape, I want to focus on the child involved in the offence. This boy was all of 13 years when he left home. Why did he leave? What was his home like? What happened to him in the last five years? What all has been responsible for turning him into this beast? Why did the juvenile justice system in place in our country not reach out to him and prevented him from being what he has become today?

I strongly believe that a child does not turn into a monster on his own in a day. It takes years of apathy and abandonment to make a child go astray in life. We do not need to amend the Juvenile laws but we need to create a society where the children grow up with love and care.

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