SC seeks Centre's response on amending Juvenile Justice Act

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on a PIL seeking amendment in the Juvenile Justice Act to make an exception for non-applicability of the Act for minor accused if they are involved in grave offences.

A Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra agreed to examine the plea which assumes significance as a juvenile is an accused in the brutal Delhi gangrape and murder case.

The petition, filed by an advocate Salil Bali, pleaded that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, needs amendment as it does not talk about the physical or mental maturity of a juvenile.

It gives licence to all matured, cruel type of persons under the age of 18 years to live with full impunity and commit any crime of any level and walk scot free only on the basis of their age being less than 18 years and being covered under the Act, Bali said in his petition.

He submitted that the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and Rules, fixing the age of juvenile at 18 years, violated Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.

The Bench also issued notice to the Centre and Delhi government on another petition filed by novelist and computer engineer Shilpa Arora Sharma seeking appointment of a criminal psychologist to determine through clinical and medical examination if the juvenile accused in the case would be a threat to society.

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