Rajya Sabha likely to take up juvenile justice bill

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha is likely to take up on Monday the Juvenile Justice Bill as the members agreed on its discussion and passage, amid protests over the release of the December 16 gang-rape juvenile convict.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told the house he had asked for a supplementary list of business to be circulated for taking up the bill.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, provides for trial of those between 16-18 years as adults for heinous offences. Also, anyone between 16-18 years who commits a less serious offence may be tried as an adult if he is apprehended after he attains the age of 21.

The issue was raised in the zero hour by Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien.

“The country is watching us (as to) what we are doing. We are discussing commercial courts, real estate (bill)… much more important is the juvenile justice (bill). Put this bill on the agenda, bring this bill,” O’Brien said.

“It is incumbent upon this house to listen to what is going on outside. Let us rise above politics. Let us discuss and pass this (bill),” he said.

Cutting across party lines, members agreed on the need to pass the bill.

“I think that is the sense of the house,” Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was in agreement to take up the bill, adding it was listed repeatedly on several days durign the ongoing winter session.

“We are ready to discuss the bill today (Monday) itself. It is listed for tomorrow as well… If the house agrees let us discuss it today, it is a sensitive issue,” said Naqvi.

Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill listed for the day should be passed first.

“As far as the juvenile justice bill is concerned, it is not listed today. It should be put in the list tomorrow (Tuesday) and discussed. Today, the SC/ST bill is there and we are committed to passing it today,” he said.

The Congress members then raised the issue of Delhi and District Cricket Association, causing an uproar and an adjournment.

When the house met again, Naidu said: “There is widespread agitation across the country. I have told my office to bring a supplementary list of business.”

He said the bill was listed on December 8, 10 and 11.

Azad, however, said: “If the government is so keen they should have listed it today. They want to give an impression that the opposition is not allowing it.”

Kurien said there should not be a “blame game” on the bill.

“When there is full agreement in the house, let us discuss and pass it,” Kurien added.

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