Child rights groups oppose lowering of juvenile age

New Delhi, Dec 2 : Reducing the legally defined age of a juvenile from 18 to 16 was a "regressive" move and highlighted the need to focus on strengthening reform and rehabilitation, child rights organisations said here Monday.

The reaction came after media reports said a cabinet note was being readied to amend the law that will see that youngsters aged above 16 who are guilty of heinous crimes are treated at par with adults.

"The proper implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and other children protection schemes like the Integrated Child Protection Scheme are a pre-requisite to tackling both crimes against children and by children," said Shireen Vakil Miller, director of advocacy and policy group, Save the Children.

"Clamouring for lowering the age from 18 to 16, and harsher punishment is not the solution, it is very regressive," Miller said.

"Lowering the age would violate the very right to equality, life and liberty and would go against the principle of the best interest of the child," said a spokesperson for Child Rights and You (CRY).

"It is not the time to react imprudently but rather collectively look at strengthening the reformation and rehabilitation process within the existing Juvenile Justice Act. It is time to reiterate our belief that every child is highly amenable to reform and rehabilitation," the CRY spokesperson said.

--IANS (Posted on 02-12-2013)

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