Monday, January 27, 2014

NCPCR holds meeting with NGOs on proposal on juveniles

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights today sought the views of NGOs, working for child rights, on Women and Child Development Ministry's proposal to treat youngsters above 16 years of age guilty of heinous crimes on par with adult offenders.

NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh held a meeting with 40 NGOs which voiced their concern about the Ministry's seeking an amendment in the Juvenile Justice Act according to which youngsters above 16 years of age involved in heinous crimes like rape and and even repeat offenders of crimes like robbery and kidnapping should be treated under the if the Juvenile Justice Board recommends so.

"Various NGOs expressed concern about the piecemeal amendment proposed in the JJ Act by the Minsitry. It was felt the spirit behind the JJ Act was reformative and rehabilitative rather than punitive.

"Seeking to amend the punitive clauses, without addressing the issues of care and protection of children in need and the rehabilatation aspects provided in the law goes against the spirit in which the Act was passed," Singh told PTI.

"According to definition of a child under the JJ Act, a child remains a child till he/she attains the age of 18 years. Why are we looking at the issue from the punishment aspect and not from the preventive and reformative aspect"? she said.

She said NGOs are of the opinion that the matter should be dealt with more seriousness and adequate measures need to be initiated to prevent juveniles from committing such crimes.

"The aim of the meeting was also to assess the overall implementation of the JJ Act, especially the provisions relating to the rehabilitaion of children in conflict with law," Singh said.

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