The parents of the December 16, 2012 gang-rape victim have moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act to the extent it puts a blanket ban on criminal courts trying a juvenile offender for offences committed under the Indian Penal Code.
Badrinath Singh and Asha Devi said they were aggrieved by the August 31order of the Juvenile Justice Board awarding a three-year sentence to the juvenile, who was one of those involved in the gang-rape and murder. The other four accused were awarded the death penalty and their appeal and death reference are pending adjudication in the Delhi High court.
The parents, in their writ petition on Friday, sought a direction to put the accused, who was then a minor, on trial by a criminal court by quashing the law which bans prosecution of juveniles. He “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 juvenile is now a major.
“The blanket protection to juvenile offenders from being tried by 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. 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."