SC decides to examine the definition of juvenile in JJ Act
The Supreme Court today decided to
examine the constitutional validity of the provision giving
the definition of juvenile in the Juvenile Justice Act which
treats a person as a minor till he attains the age of 18
The issue assumes significance in the wake of the brutal
gangrape and assault of a 23-year-old in
in a moving bus that shook the conscience of the nation. The
victim died in a
hospital on December 29.
One of the Singapore
six accused in the case is a juvenile.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati was asked by the apex
court to assist on the issue raised in a petition which seeks
to strike down the definition of juvenile from the Juvenile
Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
A bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak
Misra decided to hear the matter from April 3, and asked the
Attorney General to file counter affidavits and relevant
reports relating to the issue.
The petition, filed by two advocates--Kamal Kumar Pandey
and Sukumar--contended that sections 2(k), 10 and 17 of the JJ
Act which deals with the issue were irrational and ultra-vires
of the Constitution.
The counsel, appearing for the petitioners, submitted
that the constitutional validity of the definition of juvenile
in the Act is in conflict with the law.
The counsel said that the definition of juvenile under
section 82 and 83 of the IPC is a much better classification.
Section 82 provides that nothing is an offence which is
done by a child under seven years of age.
Section 83 says nothing is an offence which is done by a
child above seven years of age and under twelve and who has
not attained the maturity to understand or judge the nature
and consequences of his conduct.
"We have to examine the matter," the bench said, adding
that "the matter is relating to fixation of age".
"It is a question of law," it said.