Plea questioning juvenile law: SC seeks Centre’s reply

CourtThe Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre on a plea of victim's parents in the December 16 gangrape case.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response to a petition filed by the father of the December 16 Delhi gangrape victim stating that the juvenile convict in the case should be put on trial like the other accused since the blanket immunity to juvenile offenders is "arbitrary and unconstitutional".

The petition also said that the juvenility of an accused should be determined by a criminal court and not by the Juvenile Justice Board, and the provisions mandating such immunity should be quashed.

A bench led by Justice B S Chauhan also asked the Ministry of Women and Child Development to file its response within four weeks on the issue of ascertaining the "minority of an offender" in heinous cases.

The juvenile, who was six months short of 18 years at the time of the incident, was convicted for gangrape and murder. Under the existing provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, he was sent to an observation-cum-reformation home for three years.

The victim's father has sought a direction to declare the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act as unconstitutional and void to the extent that it puts a blanket ban on the power of the criminal courts to try a juvenile offender for offences committed under the IPC.

The petition referred to the verdict of the trial court which sentenced the juvenile's four adult co-accused to death, and sought similar trial for him.

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