Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress, who spoke in the Rajya Sabha as it passed the Juvenile Justice (Amendment) Bill, 2015, on Tuesday referred to his own 20-year-old daughter and mused about what he would have done had his daughter been a victim of such a crime. “I have a daughter and God forbid December 16th must happen again, I’m not sure but I would have taken a gun out and shot that person,” he said.
Those who spoke against the lowering of the age of a legally defined juvenile included nominated member Anu Agha.
“We must find a more humane way of dealing with this issue. Tomorrow, if an equally shocking crime is committed by a 14-year-old or a 15-year-old, will we again reduce the age?” she asked.
A similar point was made by CPI(M) member Sitaram Yechury before he and other Left members walked out ahead of voting on the Bill. “Today, we are hearing a lot of speeches based on sentiments. Law-making, however, has to be a more considered thing,” he said. “
We have seen and taken part in the protests that erupted after the events of December 16th, but Justice Verma, who headed the committee on the anti-rape Bill, was against the provisions of this Bill,” he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu acknowledged that it was “due to public pressure and mood that the discussion took place and the Bill was passed.”
Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said: “While it may be too late to help put the juvenile offender in my daughter’s case behind bars, I’m hopeful that it will help others.”