Fwd: Fwd: Request to endorse CCL NLSIU campaign against lowering the age of the juvenile
Lowering of age under the JJ Act has been a contentious issue in the Parliament. It seems, our Parliamentarians are in favour of this. Kindly see the mail below from CCL-NLSUI. Please respond to Arlene Manoharan (who is copied on this mail) in case you wish to endorse. Kindly circulate it widely if you agree and help collect more endorsements.
Co-Director HAQ: Centre for Child Rights B-1/2 Malviya Nagar Ground Floor New Delhi - 110017. Tel: +91-11-26677412 / 26673599 Fax: +91-11-26674688 Website: www.haqcrc.org
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Subject: Request to endorse CCL NLSIU campaign against lowering the age of the juvenile Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 15:17:05 +0530 From: Arlene Manoharan <arlenemanoharan.ccl@...> To: Bharti Ali <bharti@...>, Enakshi Ganguly <enakshi@...>, krinna shah <krinna@...>, info@...
Dear Bharti, Enakshi, Krinna and the team at HAQ,
I am writing to you with an earnest request - to kindly read through the following email and accompanying attachments, and join hands with us in appealing to the concerned Ministries to not disturb the JJ Act 2000, by lowering the age of the juvenile.
As you are aware, the horrific gang rape on 16th December 2012 in Delhi has triggered a nationwide debate on a number of issues, including proposals to amend the JJA to lower the age of the juvenile, given that one of the six persons accused of the crime is a juvenile. There have been demands that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (JJ Act) be amended so as to reduce the scope of “juvenile” to a male below the age of 16 years.
Amending the law as a reaction to the countrywide outrage and hysteria against one juvenile will set a dangerous trend, one that will affect hundreds of adolescents who are currently entitled to rehabilitative services envisioned in the law currently in force. Investment in prevention, treatment and reformation is the more prudent and effective way to ensure public safety. Lowering the age of the juvenile or incorporating a waiver system to enable JJBs to transfer juveniles alleged to have committed serious crime to the adult criminal justice system will not help in better protection of women from juvenile crime or in reform of serious juvenile offenders. All human beings, especially growing children need to be taught that there are consequences for their actions, for which they will be held accountable. However, the means for ensuring such accountability should be grounded in child/adolescent psychology, the human rights of children and a deeper understanding of the circumstances that led to such behavior/actions. In fact, the Justice Verma Committee was of the view that the “age of ‘juveniles’ ought not to be reduced to 16 years.” However, in May 2013, the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women submitted a report on “Victims of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking and their Rehabilitation” in which it urged the Central Government “to reconsider the aspect of reduction of age of male juvenile from 18 to 16 years for the purpose of being tried for crimes committed against women and offences under various laws of the country”. It appears to have based this recommendation on what it regards as rising rate of offences against women by juveniles. It also cited the “vociferous demand from various social organizations, women‘s groups, academicians and a large body of expert people for decreasing the age of male juveniles to 16 years.” (p.62)
CCL NLSIUre-affirms its commitment to protect and promote the rights of all women, given our steadfast belief and respect for human rights of all human beings, particularly women, children, and the marginalized/excluded. We condemn this horrific act and extend our solidarity in all efforts aimed at ensuring the dignity and safety of women. We are keen to facilitate more informed debate on this issue and recognizethe need for official positions to be taken by various individuals/organizations including those from the women’s movement as well as the child rights groups.
We would therefore be happy to hear your views and position on the following policy question - Shouldthe Government of India lower the age of a juvenile under the JJ Act?
In this regard, I am sending you three documents
1. The Position Paper that CCL NLSIU has evolved on this issue, which was submitted to the Justice Verma Committee,
2. An academic paper presented at the first International Colloquium on Juvenile Justice held in India (March 2013), which also deals with this issue.
3. A copy of the appeal that we intend to send to the concerned Ministries
If you/your organization opposes the proposal to amend the JJ Act, I request you to kindly endorse the position taken by CCL NLSIU, and give your consent for your name and organization to be included in the list of signatories, accompanying the appeal letter that we intend to submit to Smt. Krishna Tirath by the 25th of June 2013.
We look forward to hearing from you on this important human rights issue. Please do contact us in case you need any clarifications and kindly forward this to all your contacts, requesting them to endorse this appeal and keep us informed as well.
With regards and in solidarity
(on behalf of the team at CCL NLSIU)
Fellow and Programme Head – Juvenile Justice
Centre for Child and the Law
National Law School of India University