SC to examine provision on minors' age in juvenile act

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court will look into the constitutional validity of provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act under which a person is treated as a minor till he or she turns 18.

While deciding to look into the constitutional validity of the definition of "juvenile" in the act, the apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra issued notice to the central government on a petition that has sought the legally defined age of "minor" to be lowered from existing 18 years to 16 years.

The petition filed by advocates Sukumar and Kamal Kumar Pandey sought the apex court declare that certain provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, were in violation of the fundamental rights as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 (equality and liberty) of the constitution.

The issues raised in the petition assume significance in the wake of a minor's alleged involvement in the brutal gang-rape and torture of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi Dec 16, 2012.

Taking up the matter for hearing, the court asked Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati whether the age under the Juvenile Justice Act has any nexus with the gravity of the crime committed by the offender and whether the provisions of the act were not in conflict with the Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution.

The attorney general, who was asked by the court to appear in the case, told the court that it had to be seen why a juvenile offender had done something in conflict with law and whether society had failed to curb such conduct.

Vahanvati said that it should also be looked into whether the trial court should be given the discretion to decide under what provision of law a juvenile offender should be tried in case of heinous offences.

The attorney general also said that the question needs to be answered whether the age limit for shielding a juvenile offender from trial in a court of law should be reduced to 16 or retained at 18 years. At present, the case of an offender up to the age of 18 year is heard by a Juvenile Justice Board.

Vahanvati told the court that Justice J.S. Verma panel, which gave a report on review laws related to crimes against women, dealt with the question of age under the Juvenile Justice Act but did not recommend lowering the age for "minor".

The petition said the "classification/definition for all juvenile offenders up to the age of 18 years, providing blanket cover/protection against all and every offence committed, unmindful of the (nature and gravity of the offence and other factors) is highly irrational".

The petition said that the maturity of mind was not uniform in all children up to the age of 18 years.

The Indian Penal Code under Sections 82 and 83 represents much better classification of children in accordance with their age in respect of the offence committed by them, wherein the child up to the age of 7 years is totally exempted from any criminal liability and in case of children between the age of 7 to 12 years, there is judicial discretion to judge as to the maturity level of the child in respect of the offence committed, the petition said.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils

On Now: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils

IPL7, MATCH 8—Chennai bat. Hilfenhaus, Manhas, Ishwar in; Delhi unchanged. More »

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years: Manohar

BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years: Manohar

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

[T20 Newsline] Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Peter Anderson has started work in Kabul as the fast-developing team prepare for their debut at next year's World Cup. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »