SC rejection spurs demand for quick passage of Juvenile Justice bill

New Delhi: The Supreme Court's rejection of plea against release of juvenile offender in December 16 gang-rape case today spurred demands inside and outside Parliament for passage of a bill which seeks to lower the age defining juvenile from 18 to 16 years by tomorrow itself. 

Government said the amendments to Juvenile Justice Act that will allow children between 16-18 years to be tried as adults in heinous crime cases will come up before Rajya Sabha tomorrow, as protests against release of the juvenile convict continued at Jantar Mantar. The Juvenile Justice Amendment Act has already been passed in the Lok Sabha.

Nirbhaya’s father addresses the protest rally at India Gate on Sunday. Pic/PTI
Nirbhaya’s father addresses the protest rally at India Gate on Sunday. Pic/PTI

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said "the government is ready and very keen to pass this Juvenile Bill", as a demand for expeditious passage was made in the Rajya Sabha. 

Parliament's Winter session concludes on Wednesday. 

TMC MP Derek O'Brien said he has given a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business in the Rajya Sabha and taking up the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2014.

He said the House had only three days to go before end of the Winter Session and government's listed agenda includes commercial courts, arbitration and real estate bill. 

The government has not even listed the juvenile bill for discussion and passing today, he said during Zero Hour.

"It is incumbent upon the House to listen to what is going on outside," he said, asking the House to rise above politics. "It is not a perfect bill but let us list it and pass the bill," O'Brien said. 

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the bill was listed on December 8, 10 and 11. "We have listed it for tomorrow," he said, adding if all agree the bill can be taken up for discussion today itself. 

Outside Parliament, Prasad targeted Congress, saying "the Bill has been thrice listed in the past for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha; however, the House has not been able to run".

O'Brien said the various parties should rise above politics and allow the passage of the Bill. "The nation wants this Bill passed. In the next two days, parties should rise above politics and pass this Bill. I appeal to the Congress party for it," he said.

Union Minister Uma Bharti said she will appeal to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to allow passage of the Bill in the interest of the girls in the country.

"There is an obvious anger in the country against the release of the juvenile accused in the Nirbhaya case. The Bill was listed three times, but the Congress is not allowing the session to work and justice is not being delivered to Nirbhaya," Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said. 

SP leader Ramgopal Yadav blamed "politics" for the delay in the passage of the Bill.

The victim's mother Asha Devi while stating that her fight against the system would continue demanded that the new Juvenile law be passed by Rajy Sabha tomorrow itself, a stand which was also echoed by Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Maliwal.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat explained that even if the amendments to the Act were passed, the new provisions would not apply retrospectively to the juvenile convict in the gangrape case.

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