Juvenile Justice Bill: what was at stake in the big debate?

Suhas Munshi I Catch News I 22 December 2015

Mob justice

  • DCW chief Swati Maliwal wanted to stay the release of the juvenile convicted in Delhi gangrape

  • There are efforts to amend the Juvenile Justice Act

  • One amendment is to treat juveniles involved in heinous crimes at par with adult criminals

The facts

  • There has been no increase in heinous crimes by juveniles

  • In 2014, 22.4% of the crimes by juveniles were violent crimes, down from 31.8% in 2012

More in the story

  • Why the arguments by those demanding stricter punishment for juveniles make no sense

  • Do juveniles who are convicted relapse into crime after release?

  • What are the proposed amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act

On 21 December, Swati Maliwal, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, made a series of dramatic statements.

She blamed the Rajya Sabha for "cheating the country" out of stricter laws that would protect women and said, "I think the time for candle marches is over. Women should pick up mashaals (torches) instead to demand justice."

But it's not justice Maliwal seems to be seeking but vengeance. She is symptomatic of the public hysteria that surrounds the release of the juvenile convicted for the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey, or Nirbhaya as she is universally known.

Two days earlier, Maliwal had approached the Supreme Court at midnight to try and stop his release. She urged the court to order a report on his "psychological status" and called it a "black day for women" when the court upheld the law and allowed the release.