The Centre is in the process of amending the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, to ensure that in the future other minor accused — such as the one involved in the December 16 gang rape — do not walk away with mild punishments.
The teenager involved in the December 16 gang rape — the most brutal among all the accused, according to the prosecution — was sent to a correction home for three years.
The Centre proposes to increase the time spent in correction homes for juveniles in need of longer monitoring and counselling.
Currently, a juvenile accused, if convicted, spends a maximum of three years in a reformatory home after which he is released.
“A final decision is yet to be taken on the number of years a juvenile will have to spend in reformatory homes,” said a women and child development (WCD) ministry official.
The WCD ministry has started the process of revamping the existing Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, and bring in a comprehensive law with tougher provisions for delinquents involved in heinous crimes such as rape.
“We are working on the new law. It will take some time to finalise the changes that we want to make. So far, we have held several rounds of consultations with NGOs working in this field,” said an official.
The ministry had earlier proposed to just amend the existing law.
But after the ministry proposed some 250 amendments, the government decided it would be better to have a comprehensive new law instead of making so many changes to the existing act.
“We had proposed a large number of amendments which were sent to the law ministry for approval. But we were told to draft a comprehensive new bill rather than carrying out so many amendments,” said the official.