Supreme Court wants Government to make Juvenile Law More Deterrent

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The Supreme Court of India asked the government to make all necessary changes in the current juvenile law in a bid to make it more deterrent and send a stronger message to the society that the life of a victim was equally important under the rule of law.

The apex court also observed that it was “extremely difficult” to accept that any juvenile would not be aware of the possible consequences while committing grave crimes such as rape, murder, and robbery. The court further stated that the growing involvement of minors in such grave and heinous crimes demanded some serious changes in the existing Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

“A time has come to think of an effective law to deal with the situation, we would request the learned Attorney General to bring it to the notice of the concerned authorities so that the relevant provisions under the Act can be re-looked, re-scrutinized and re-visited, at least in respect of offences which are heinous in nature,” said a SC bench led by Justice Dipak Misra.

The court made these remarks while hearing a case where a murder accused had claimed that he was a juvenile when the crime was committed and hence, he should be granted immunity under the Act. Apparently, the juvenile in question murdered a man for not repaying a debt.

Under existing laws, a minor cannot be imprisoned in a jail regardless of the severity of the crime he committed. Instead, on being found guilty, they are sent to a correctional facility where they need to stay upto a period of 3 years depending upon the severity of their crime.

“Whether in such a situation, can it be conceived by any stretch of imagination that the petitioner was not aware of the consequences? Or for that matter, was it a crime committed, if proven, with a mind that was not matured enough? Or the life of the victim is totally immaterial, for five people, including a juvenile, think unless somebody pays the debt, he can face his death,” the SC pointed out.



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