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SC reserves verdict on interpretation of ‘juvenile’


New Delhi, Jan 29 :

The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its verdict on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea that a section of the Juvenile Justice Act should be constructed so that a juvenile under criminal law is not “emotionally and intellectually” more than 18 years.

The bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh reserved the order on Swamy’s plea as Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra opposed the plea.supreme court

Luthra said there was no need to revisit the section 2(k) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children ) Act, 2000, for interpreting the meaning of juvenile.

The validity of the act was also challenged by the parents of the Dec 16 gang rape victim.

As Luthra sought the dismissal of Swamy’s plea, the court gave 10 days’ time to all the parties to file their written submissions.

Swamy has contended that though the act was made in pursuance to the 1989 UN Convention for the Rights of Child and the 1985 Beijing Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, the same were not fully adhered to.

He said, “Article 17.1(c) of the Beijing Rules states even though endeavour is to be made to avoid incarceration (of juvenile), nevertheless in certain situations/offences sentence of imprisonment has to be passed not only to punish the offender but also to protect public safety”.

Swamy has sought the inclusion of words “mental and intellectual maturity” into the wording of section 2(k) on the age of innocence.

He moved the apex court in the wake of the Delhi gang rape case, seeking the trial of the juvenile convict under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

He said that in the Delhi gang rape, the juvenile convict knew what he was doing and what were its consequences, and thus he should not get the shield of the Juvenile Justice Act.

However, Swamy’s plea was opposed by the centre which said a person could not be tried twice for the same offence.