The report that many States want to bring down the age bar for juvenile offenders from 18 to 16 (Jan. 5) prompted me to write this letter. The logic seems to be that children are mature enough to understand the consequences of their action when they turn 16. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 was enacted after the review of the Juvenile Justice Act 1986 to provide better attention, care, rehabilitation and social re-integration to a Child in Conflict with Law and a Child in Need of Care and Protection.
On November 20, 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Right of the Child wherein a set of standards to be adhered to by all state parties in securing the best interests of a child has been prescribed. The Government of India has ratified the convention, bearing the standard prescribed in the Convention on the Right of the Child, the U.N. standard Minimum Rules for administration of Juvenile Justice, Beijing Rule 1985, the U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles deprived of their Liberty, and all other relevant international instruments, adopted and enacted, treating a person who has not completed 18 years of age as a juvenile. If India is going to amend the Juvenile Justice Act to bring down the age limit to 16, it should change the voting age also to 16.
Keywords: Delhi gang-rape case