ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION
NO. 2253- E, SHADI KHAMPUR, NEW RANJIT NAGAR,
PH: 011-25700476, 25709565
Email : [email protected]
13th August 2014
AIDWA feels that while there is a need to address serious crimes committed by juveniles the present amendment moved by the Union government will not serve this purpose and is retrogressive in nature. A solution to the problem has to be thought of within the parameters of the Juvenile Justice Act itself and this can be done by strengthening the institutions under the Act and by ensuring that a juvenile who has committed such a crime is not allowed to repeat the offence and/or intimidate the victim again. One immediate amendment that can be moved is to remove the upper limit of 3 years for detention under the present Act to a suitable period agreed upon by all concerned persons. The juvenile can be kept in a safe place or Institution under the JJ Act during this increased period.
The punitive measure of transferring the juvenile to the ordinary criminal courts is based only on the retributive theory and revenge and does not act as a deterrent to future juvenile criminals but in fact results in recidivism. It only further brutalizes the juvenile who is already in conflict with law. This has been shown through several studies in the USA.
Thus, the Amendment suggested in the Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014 is short sighted and unjust and against all tenets of human rights. It will not lead to either public safety or improvement in juvenile behavior. To achieve this, the Juvenile justice Act should be strengthened and amendments can be made to it to ensure that Juveniles who have committed offences do not repeat them and remain a threat to society. This can be done, as stated above, not only through intensive counseling and other methods of reform, but also by increasing the period of stay from the present maximum period of 3 years in an institution or place of safety established under the Juvenile Justice Act. Under Section 15(11) of the present Act, a Juvenile who has committed an offence of a serious nature can be kept by the Board in a place of safety and in a manner considered most appropriate by it. This will take care of the complaint that some Juveniles after being released after 3 years, have committed the crime again and the period of stay of 3 years was not long enough. Alternatives like this can be easily thought of and the reported amendment approved by the government should not be brought into the law.
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Malini Bhattacharya Kirti Singh Jagmati Sangwan
(President) (Legal Convenor) (General Secretary)