NEW DELHI: Many branded it a knee-jerk reaction to the brutal December 16, 2012, gang rape which shook the country, while many saw it as a befitting answer to the problem of juvenile crime in the country.
However, the amended Juvenile Justice Act, passed by the Lok Sabha, which provides for trial of children in the 16-18 age group as adults if they commit heinous crimes, seems to have hit a road block with the Rajya Sabha not functioning over various issues in the last Monsoon Session as well as the current Winter Session. Many in the House of Elders also want to send the bill to a select committee to be deliberated upon further.
The government is already facing an antagonised Congress, which stalled the Upper House all of last week over the summons to party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. In the last session, the Lalit Modi and Vyapam cases had rocked Parliament.
Though the bill was listed twice in the Winter Session, it could not be taken up due to Opposition protests.
CPI leader D Raja, one of the members of the Upper House who have opposed the amendment, wants it to be sent to a select committee. He feels a single case, that of the Nirbhaya juvenile, should not dictate the country’s policies towards juvenile delinquents as a whole.
“There is a need for wider consultations among stakeholders,” he said, adding it was the government’s responsibility to ensure proper care of children so that they do not go waste.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee, which examined the bill before it was passed in the Lok Sabha, observed that the bill was based on misleading data regarding juvenile crimes and violated certain provisions of the Constitution.
Sources in the Women and Child Development Ministry said the Centre was amenable to the demand to refer the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill to a select committee of Rajya Sabha.
Members of Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha were said to have had reservations about referral of the bill during the business advisory committee meeting.