The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday finally cleared the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Bill) 2014 as the parents of the victim of the Delhi December 16 gangrape looked on from the visitors’ gallery.
The passage of the bill came days after the release of the juvenile who was in conflict with the law in connection with the gangrape case and following the parents of the victim meeting with the leaders of various political fronts to get their support for the law.
While the new law won’t help prosecute the juvenile in the December 16 gangrape case, since it wasn’t in existence when the incident took place, it is applicable in future cases where a juvenile is involved.
So what has changed under this new law? The folks at PRS broke it down:
Juveniles between the age group of 16 to 18 can now be tried like adults for major crimes like murder, rape and robbery
The juvenile in the December 16 gangrape. Source: PTI
Under the new law juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years who commit heinous crimes like murder, rape and robbery stand to face a regular court like adults. They can also be awarded the maximum punishment in jail terms for those crimes.
However, they cannot be sentenced to spend their entire lives in prison or to be sentenced to death.
The age at which a juvenile committing a crime is arrested will make a major difference;
Representational image. Source: PTI
Under the new law if a juvenile who commits a crime is arrested after turning 21 then he/she stands can be treated as an adult and will face the same criminal proceedings.
The only case in which a juvenile won’t be tried as an adult is if he/she is apprehended before turning 21 in which case a juvenile could get counselling and be sent to a rehabilitation home.
It’s a bigger crime to give a child a cigarette or alcohol then it is to sell a child or force one into begging
Representational image. Source: Reuters
Under the new law if you give a child a cigarette, alcohol or any narcotic drug you could face seven years in jail and a fine of Rs one lakh.
But strangely, offences like — buying or selling children, subjecting a child to cruelty of even forcing a child into begging — attract a lesser prison term.
Juveniles released from rehabilitation facilities get less support once they’re out
Under the earlier law for juveniles, there was a provision for monetary and continue support for a juvenile after leaving a rehabilitation home. This could last for three years of till the juvenile turned 21. In the case of the juvenile accused in the Delhi gangrape he was to receive a sewing machine, cash and is even being housed at an NGO after his release from the rehabilitation home.
Now a juvenile who is released from a rehabilitation home after turning 18 stands to get only a one-time financial assistance from the government.