This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhishek Jha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Just In: 16-18 Yr Olds To Be Tried As Adults, As Lok Sabha Passes The Juvenile Justice Bill

More from Abhishek Jha

By Abhishek Jha:

The Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014, which is earning the ire of child rights groups, was today passed in the Lok Sabha with minimum support for amendments suggested by the opposition. It was moved on Wednesday evening for consideration by Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Welfare. The bill, which makes some unanimously agreed upon changes for better implementation of the 2000 act, also proposes trial of children aged between 16 and 18 as adults for heinous crimes (the offences for which the minimum punishment under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force is imprisonment for seven years or more) in case the Juvenile Justice Board finds them physically and mentally capable of such a crime. Shashi Tharoor made an impassioned speech against the lowering of age for trial on both days. “I want to stress, Mr. Chairman, in conclusion that children below the age of 18 must be saved from prison, must be protected from the regular criminal framework. We cannot sacrifice a child, appease popular political sentiments,” he said. The arguments presented in the parliament against this change were as follows:

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

(i) Misreading of NCRB data: In order to establish a need for the proposed amendment ‘The Statement of Objects and Reasons to the Bill’ says that the “data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau establishes that crimes by children in the age group of 16-18 years have increased, especially in certain categories of heinous offences.” Citing the report of the parliamentary standing committee, several legislators were quick to point that the NCRB data was being misread. The crimes committed by children in the particular age group are only 1.2% of the total no. of crimes. The report of the committee says, that “the juvenile crime from the period 1990 to 2012 ranged between 0.5 to 1.2 percent of total crimes committed in India. The average of juvenile crime to total crime during these 22 years has been only 0.8 per cent. The percentage of juvenile crime to total crime increased in 2001 when the age limit for male juveniles was raised to 18 years but it was still 0.9 percent and had remained stabilized thereafter.”

(ii) Violation of Article 20(1): Clause 7 of the bill provides that an adult of age 21 years or above may be tried as an adult for a serious or heinous offence committed between the age of 16 and 18 years. After several members of parliament pointed out that this was in violation of article 20(1) that does not allow a person to be “convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence” clause 7 has been withdrawn.

(iii) Retribution over Reformation: Clause 3(i) of the bill itself asks for a child below the age of 18 years of age to be innocent of any criminal intent. The JJB then judging the child capable of thinking like an adult- implying thereby trial for criminal intent- is in contradiction of the bill itself. Supriya Sule of the NCP while applauding the overall bill said that the bill had glossed over this important issue in a passionate plea for retributive measures. “When you are a mother, you feel that every rapist should be hung. Even I feel that as a mother. But I am not standing here as a mother. I am a policy maker here,” she said. Most representatives, including those from the BJP, seemed to agree that reformation was the correct path. The case made for deterrents for these children were done only using the NCRB data that seems to fall under the report of the standing committee.

(iv) Care and Protection of Children: Protecting children, which is a prime concern of the bill and article 15(3) of the constitution, would require that adequate measures are taken to reform children in the form of, say, counselling as suggested by the bill. However, the standing committee’s report says that the “Observation Homes or Special Homes were mini-incarceration homes affording no opportunities for children in conflict with law.” The disinterestedness in first addressing this issue, some said, was reflected in the poor attendance in the house.

The provision regarding lowering the age of trial has been rejected summarily in the standing committee’s report and was criticised by the opposition. While a suggested amendment was being put to vote today, Shashi Tharoor asked the government to think for a moment before they voted on the bill, and was soon drowned in the voices that rejected the proposed amendment. Despite being warned against getting swayed by a single case, the government has scored another political point. The hope in this number game now rests with the Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have a majority.

You must be to comment.
  1. Mahitha Kasireddi

    Here is a good analysis of the bill
    http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Juvenile%20Justice/Legislative%20Brief%20Juvenile%20Justice%20Bill.pdf

    Violations of Fundamental Rights is something which has to be amended. Wonder why nobody is recognizing that there is a middle ground in the entire debate. There is an intermediary body, the JJB. The role of this body is to protect the interests of all parties. The composition of this body is such that it weighs all aspects before deciding on whether the child should be tried as an adult, whether one shouldbe subjected to the regular criminal framework. That is a good reform! The law will be interpreted on acase by case basis. Other countries do not do such comprehensive investigation.The point is we needto have a tough law in place to deal with cases involving juveniles, the consequences should be detrimental enough to make them feel conscious of their actions. Having said that, before this law becomes an act it should be made more reformative in nature and reforms should be brought about in special homes where juveniles are remanded. Because thinking from the victim’s view point there should be proper closure.

More from Abhishek Jha

Similar Posts

By Zain Shahab Usmani

By Azam Danish

By Ritwik Trivedi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below