Rejects petitions seeking fresh interpretation of the term ‘juvenile’ and leaving it to the criminal court, instead of Juvenile Justice Board, to determine the juvenility of an offender

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to lower the age of a juvenile from 18, saying the legislature has fixed the age, which is constitutionally permissible.

A three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, rejected two petitions, filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and parents of the December 16 gang-rape victim, challenging the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.

“If the legislature has adopted the age of 18 as the dividing line between juveniles and adults and such a decision is constitutionally permissible, the enquiry by the courts must come to an end. Even otherwise, there is a considerable body of world opinion that all under-18 persons ought to be treated as juveniles and separate treatment meted out to them so far as offences committed by such persons are concerned,” said the Bench, which included Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiv Kirti Singh

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