Child Rights Panel Opposes Proposal on Lowering Juvenile Age


Published: 02nd December 2013 06:42 PM

Last Updated: 02nd December 2013 06:42 PM

The Women and Child Development Ministry's draft proposal that juveniles above 16 years of age involved in crimes like murder or gangrape should be tried as adults today met with a strong opposition from India's apex child rights panel NCPCR which said there cannot be any "compromise" on the age of a child as defined by the UN.       

In a letter to Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairman Kushal Singh expressed surprise at the development, which, she said, the Commission came to know through media reports.    

"The news has come as a surprise to us as we in the NCPCR have neither been informed nor consulted on the issue.            

"The stand of the NCPCR has all along been that there can be no compromise made on the age of a child as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which India has ratified," she said in the letter to Tirath.   

The letter states that the Commission has clarified the grounds on which it opposes any lowering of age for juveniles in the submission made to Justice Verma Committee.

"The Indian laws relating to children have evolved over several years and are the product of an extensive research and understanding of the issue and therefore it is essential that any review of the child rights jurisprudence should take place only after an exhaustive deliberation on the pros and cons of the subject," the letter said.       

The Commission also requested the WCD ministry to share the proposed draft amendments with it.   

As per sources, the ministry was in the process of preparing a note proposing that juveniles above 16 years involved in crimes like murder or gangrape should be tried as adults under the Indian Penal Code for the Union Cabinet's approval.            

"The proposal is expected to be finalised in next few days," they added.