Child rights activists protest against juvenile bill

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Child rights activists on Tuesday protested against the the Juvenile Justice Bill that seeks to amend existing law and treat juveniles in the age group of 16-18 as adults for trial in heinous crimes.

“We feel one unfortunate Nirbhaya case cannot determine the fate of all the (juvenile accused) boys,” child rights activist Kumar V. Jahgirdar said in a statement.

He said the existing law for protection of children from sexual offences – POCSO – was being misused in many cases.

He said a national debate should be held if an amendment to existing law was to be passed in parliament.

The juvenile justice bill was listed for discussion and passing in the Rajya Sabha on Monday after demands from members, amid protests over the release of the December 16 gang-rape juvenile convict.

The bill is likely to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

“The government should not succumb to the pressure tactics from women rights activists,” Jahgirdar told IANS.

He is president of Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), which promotes the cause of shared parenting in case of divorces.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, provides for the trial of those between 16-18 years as adults for heinous offences.

Also, anyone between 16 and 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.

Jahgirdar said Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) of 2012 was misused against male juveniles.

“It is best not to make any abrupt changes in law based on one incident (Nirbhaya gang rape case),” CRISP leader Sudha Rajashekar said.

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