Parents of the December 16, 2012, gang-rape victim have moved the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act granting protection to a juvenile offender in a criminal case to be tried by a Juvenile Justice Board.

The parents said they were aggrieved by the order passed by the JJ Board awarding three-year sentence to one of the juvenile accused involved in the gang-rape. The other four accused were awarded death penalty and their appeal and death reference are pending adjudication in the Delhi High Court.

The parents in their writ petition sought a direction to put the accused, who was then a minor, on trial by a criminal court by quashing the law which bans such prosecution of juveniles. They said the August 31 verdict of the Board was not acceptable to them. The petition said the juvenile “is liable to be tried and punished by the criminal courts for the offences committed, complete with the judicial discretion on established principles of law regarding the award of sentence keeping in view, amongst other factors, the nature and gravity of the offence”.

The petition said “the blanket protection to juvenile offenders from being tried by the criminal courts for offences under the IPC, is an instance of legislative adjudication, and hence unconstitutional. The legislature cannot make relevant circumstances irrelevant, deprive the courts of their legitimate jurisdiction to exercise their discretion or compel them to shut their eyes. It is equally well settled that the legislature has no power to take cases out of the settled course of judicial proceedings or to infringe upon the peculiar and appropriate functions of the judiciary”.

It sought a direction to declare “as unconstitutional and void the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act to the extent it puts a blanket ban on the power of the criminal courts to try a juvenile offender for offences committed under the IPC”.

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