New Delhi: Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi has said that juveniles who commit rape should be tried as adults. She also said that she is personally working to amend the law so that 16-year-olds are brought out of the purview of the Juvenile Justice Act.
"We are changing the law and I am personally working on it to bring 16-year-olds into the purview. According to the police, 50 per cent of the crimes are committed by 16-year-olds who know the Juvenile Justice Act," she said.
"But now for premeditated murder, rape, if we bring them into the purview of the adult world, then it will scare them," she added.
This is at odds with the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, which was formed after the 2012 Delhi gangrape to amend the criminal justice act. A report by the panel stated that the age ceiling of 18 must be maintained as the aim of the Juvenile Justice Act is to reform the child offender.
Former WCD Minister Krishna Tirath during the previous UPA regime had proposed that juveniles above 16 years guilty of heinous crimes be treated on par with adult offenders. The move was, however, opposed by various NGOs and National Commission of Protection of Child Rights which stated that such a proposal was against child rights.