The Juvenile Justice Act, 2014, enacted by Maneka Gandhi, empowers a board to decide if any perpetrator who is above the age of 16 years will be sent to an observation home or be tried in a regular court. This comes as a change from the previous Act that required a person to be 18 years of age to be tried in court.

Homegrown believes that prison is no place for children and have started a petition urging the government to check the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act. The question of juvenile justice has been hotly debated for a while now, and Homegrown believes that, if they are deserved, second chances should be given.

Unfortunately, it isn’t nearly as simple as that.

It all started on the night of the December 16, 2012. ‘The Rape Capital’ was horrified by the inhumanity and brutality of that fateful bus ride and as details began to emerge, our horror only intensified.

Perhaps the scariest bit of information was, that of the six accused, the 17-year old had inflicted the most pain and caused the most hurt. The juvenile had been the most brutal of them all.

Yet, he was sent to a reformation home for three years, while the older accused were sentenced to death by hanging. This made no sense to a country outraged by what this ‘child’ had been capable of and they demanded a revision of the old Act to accommodate him. This demand sparked a debate among two clearly opposed sides.


One side believes that when a child is capable of performing adult crimes, he must be tried in an adult court and be subjected to adult implications.

The second, voiced by Justice Verma and his committee, holds that a single notable exception cannot become a generalisation.

What, in your opinion, would make a fair Juvenile Justice Act?

We feel that certain questions need to be addressed before we recklessly start changing laws.

1. Can the more unforgiving current Juvenile Justice Act bring any change or will it create more hardened criminals? Homegrown believes that children learn what they are taught. Is prison the place for children?

2. Is this going to be our go-to solution? Will we keep reducing the age, if tomorrow a 9-year old commits an unforgivable, heinous crime?


3. This law will apply to EVERY kind of crime, from gruesome murder to petty theft. Should it, then, be applied to EVERY kind of violation?


4. How many children will this affect? The new Act brings all those who are within the ages of 16-18 within its purview. Soon, 1 in 3 Indians will fit this bracket.


5. How do we identify cases where reform is possible? How do we identify those where it is a lost cause?


Regardless of which side you’re on, this is an issue that needs to be talked about. The unfortunate reality, today, is that we DO need a law in place to deal with cases such as this one.

(If you are of the opinion that #NoPrisonForChildren is the best way forward, you can show your support by signing Homegrown’s petition for the same, here .)