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HC to hear PIL on juvenile act today

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi high court by a woman lawyer to declare as ‘ultra vires’ some provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act saying that the recent incidents show it is the society which needs care and protection, instead of the offenders above the 16 years of age.  

The petition, filed by a Supreme Court lawyer, Shweta Kapoor, would be heard by a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain.

‘Issue an appropriate writ ...or direction declaring the provisions of section 16(1) (1st part without proviso), the proviso to subsection 2 of section 16, ...of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, as ultravires to the Constitution..,’ said the PIL. The recent incidents show that the juveniles, who have attained the age of 16 years, are involved in serious crimes and are ‘quite well developed and they do not need the care and protection of the society, rather the society needs the care and protection against them,’ it said.

Section 16 of the Act deals with the order which cannot be passed against juvenile including that they cannot be ‘sentenced to death or life imprisonment.’ The provision also says that delinquents, above 16 years, shall be kept in special homes away from other minors and the period of detention would be of three years. However, another provision says that a juvenile can only be kept at the special home till he attains 18 years of age.

‘In other words section 16 envisages a different class of juveniles who have committed an offence of serious nature and cannot be kept in special homes. Therefore,  subsection 1 of section 16 (1st part) of the Act is ultravires...,’ it said. The PIL assumes significance in the backdrop of the 16 December gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in which the probe indicated that the minor, 17, was allegedly the most brutal among the six accused.
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