Juvenile Justice Bill Taken Up For Discussion In Rajya Sabha

22/12/2015 3:05 PM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 9:00 PM IST
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Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 21: The mother of Indian gang-rape victim 'Nirbhaya' (C) talks to the media as she attends a rally held to protest the release of a juvenile rapist in New Delhi on December 21, 2015. India's Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the release of the youngest convict in an infamous fatal gang-rape, sparking fury from the victim's parents who said the ruling was a betrayal. (Photo by Vinod Singh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Lawmakers on Tuesday spiritedly debated the Juvenile Justice Bill, that seeks to lower the age defining a juvenile from 18 to 16 years. There's huge pressure both inside and outside Parliament for passage of the bill to ensure justice in heinous crimes involving minors, such as the December 16, 2012 gang rape. The Juvenile Justice Amendment Act has already been passed in the Lok Sabha.

"God forbid if it was my daughter, then would I have hired the best lawyers or taken out the gun and shot the culprits? I say this with full responsibility," said Trimaool Congress leader Derek O'Brien. He urged Parliament not to "wait endlessly to pass an ideal bill."

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, pitched for a different setup for juvenile criminals. "They shouldn’t be kept in the same cell with hardened criminals for the fear that they could turn out even worse than they were," he said.

The parents of the gang rape victim are attending the debate. They met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi at his residence to press them for the passage of the bill.

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a plea against release of the man, the youngest of the six convicted for the rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on December 16, 2012 inside a moving bus in the national capital, leading to protests. The victim was heading home with a male friend after an evening showing of the movie 'Life of Pi' when the six lured them onto a private bus. They beat the man with a metal bar, raped the woman and used the bar to inflict massive internal injuries to her.

Protesters are demanding further incarceration of the rapist who was a juvenile at that time, claiming that he might pose a danger to society. He has served three years as per Indian law at a minor correctional home and was released on Sunday. He will be kept under observation and gradually rehabilitated.

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