The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Centre on a plea filed in the apex court by the father of the victim of the December 16 gang-rape case. In the notice, the top court ruled that it is the duty of the criminal court to decide the juvenility of an accused and the juvenile justice board should not take a decision in this regard.
The SC also directed the victim's father to annexe the portion of the statement that implicates the juvenile offender in this much-publicized case. The involvement of the juvenile in the gang rape of Nirbhaya led to widespread outrage in Delhi and other parts of the country.
The victim?s father had said that verdict of the Board which was passed on August 31 was not acceptable to them. He has challenged the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 too in his petition.
The SC's directive comes at a time when the government is planning to bring amendments in law to treat juvenile offenders involved in heinous crimes just like adults.
Sources added that a note had been prepared by the Women and Child Development ministry seeking amendment in the law so that accused between 16 and 18 involved in crimes like rape and murder or other brutal crimes should not get protection under Juvenile Justice Act, and they should face trial as adult criminals.
It is learnt that the ministry will ask the Juvenile Justice Board to take a final call in this regard. It is expected that the Cabinet would soon take up the note and hold discussion over it. It is to be noted that in July, the SC had rejected petitions to reduce the age limit of juvenile offenders from 18 years despite protests from several groups.