Press Release: The Supreme Court judgment upholds the reformative role of Juvenile Justice

Posted on July 26, 2013

The Supreme Court judgment upholds the reformative role of Juvenile Justice

The Concerned for Working Children

We rejoice the Supreme Court Judgment to retain the age of Juveniles at 18 years under the Juvenile Justice Act. As one of the Organisations that had appealed against the proposed amendment to lower the age of Juveniles to 16, we welcome the stand taken by the Apex Court that the essence of Juvenile Law is restorative and not retributive. Refusing to be swayed by the hysteria that followed the horrific gang rape in Delhi, the Court, in its wisdom has pointed out that the number of crime committed by the juveniles is about 2% and the youngsters who are held responsible for them need to be reintegrated into the society and not be deprived of the support, care and guidance required for their transformation.

While there is no doubt that the cognitive levels of 16 to 18 year olds may seems to be that of an adult, adolescence is fraught with pressure, risk prone behaviour and heightened vulnerability. Thankfully both the Supreme Court Judgment and the Justice Verma Committee report have upheld fact that the children and adults cannot be subjected to the same criminal justice system.

There is no denying that there has been an increase in the number of violent incidents involving youngsters. Hence there is an urgent need to address the root causes that instigate youngsters to aggression and violence and not a knee jerk reaction as desired by the PILs in this case.

The Juvenile Justice Law, in both letter and in practice has been urgently in need of reforms to uphold the rights of all children in need of care and protection as well as those considered to be in conflict with law. That is a matter that requires collective and critical attention. We hope the reflections related to JJA that are taking place in the country will lead to a such a reform that, above all, is in the best interest of the child.

Prajavani – A Kannada news daily covers the Supreme Court judgment which upholds the reformative role of Juvenile Justice.