The Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare has proposed to bring in stricter punishment for juveniles – in the age group of 16-18 years -- involved in heinous crime. The Ministry has proposed a quantum jump from a maximum of three years in a correction facility that can be awarded to a juvenile under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 currently to five, ten or even life (in the rarest of rare cases).

Speaking about its rather ‘stern’ stand on the subject of awarding more severe sentence to juvenile delinquents, Union Minister for Women and Child Welfare Krishna Tirath said: “We understand that there has to be an effective deterrent for children to stay away from crime. We are in the process of consulting with the Home and Law ministries to bring in much stricter punishment which could include life imprisonment.”

Stating that juvenile delinquents would not be lodged in adult jails, the Minister said: “We are looking at offering these delinquents a place where they will be given educational facilities, vocational training and the chance to be able to earn a decent livelihood when they step out into the society.”

Stating that the society too has to understand that children form a minuscule number of the total people involved in crimes and even among them, that of juveniles involved in heinous crimes is even smaller, she said: “Juveniles involved in crime are a result of the circumstances they are exposed to when they are children. Harsh and violent circumstances often shape their future. The society too has to play a proactive role in ensuring that children grow up with their right to education and food intact.”

The Minister also spoke about self-styled spiritual guru Asaram Bapu and said that blind faith is not advisable. “Spiritual gurus are supposed to guide and protect people, not supposed to rape innocent girls. The things that we associate with a ‘saint’ cannot be associated with Asaram and his actions now. Also the common man has to understand that blind faith in anything is dangerous,” said the Minister.