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Posted on Feb 27, 07:28PM | IANS
New Delhi, Feb 27 : The government Wednesday ruled out reducing the age of a juvenile under the law, saying it would go against the interests of the nation's juvenile population.
"We are not changing the age of juvenile as defined in the juvenile justice act, as it may hurt the larger interests of children in the country. All those under 18 years of age are juvenile," Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath told the Rajya Sabha.
A 17-and-a-half-year-old juvenile is among the six accused in the Dec 16 gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman, who died Dec 29, succumbing to injuries caused during the assault in a moving bus in Delhi.
Following the case, there were demands for lowering the age of those considered juvenile under law.
Tirath, replying to supplementaries in the upper house, said it would be unfair to other juveniles if the age was lowered to make for more severe punishment to the one juvenile accused in the Dec 16 case.
"If, because of one case, we lower the age bar in general, it would be unfair to others. There is a 0.1 percent of juveniles in all crime cases registered. Some crimes are more serious, while some are less serious," Tirath said.
"The child should be counselled and sent to a juvenile home, it may give him a chance to become a good citizen," she said.
She, however, clarified that the Dec 16 rape case was an exception. She said she was not referring to that case.