The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2015 has been passed by the Rajya Sabha
The bill allows for juveniles 16 years or older to be tried as adults for heinous offences like rape and murder. Heinous offenses are those which are punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more.
The bill mandates setting up Juvenile Justice Boards and Child Welfare Committees in every district. Both must have at least one woman member each.
Once the bill becomes law, the decision to try a juvenile 16 years or older as an adult will be taken by the Juvenile Justice Board, which will have a judicial magistrate and two social workers as members. If the board decides against it, the juvenile will be sent for rehabilitation.
The Child Welfare Committees will look at institutional care for children in their respective districts
The bill also deals with adoption of children and lays down the eligibility criteria for adoptive parents. A central adoptive resource agency will frame the rules for adoption, which will be implemented by state and district level agencies.
If one looks at the single case (Nirbhaya Case) , and given the demands from public it seems that the provisions are welcome.If the single case is considered then – ” The juvenile released now was the most brutal among the group that committed the gang rape” (according to The Hindu editorial of 21 Dec )
However , no law should be decided on the basis of a single case and it must overcome the public pressure of the moment.The question is has the amendment gave in to public pressure or has it upheld the due process of law ?
To understand and take a stand on this , it is vital we listen to arguments from different sections.
The first argument is – “India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which mandates that all children under the age of 18 years be treated equal. The bill has been criticised for violation of the Convention” (Source- NDTV) – The argument is valid ,however just because India is a signatory to a certain UN convention that does not mean that it’s actions are restricted where it only has to do whatever the convention says. Usually conventions are signed with the right intent that displays our respect for world organization and it’s norms.However India is a complex society and any law of land should meet the need of the land without giving into any pressures from any corner. India being a democracy , it has all the right to make it’s own law as it sees fit for it’s society.India is a society ,UN is not.So this argument stands null and void.
The second argument is that only 18 and above are adults . In that context, lets take a hypothetical situation where a 17 yrs 11 months 28 day(for example) old commits a heinous crime and goes scot-free , and a 18 yrs 0 months and 1 day old becomes adult and should be tried like an adult.This is rather a rudimentary argument , because , adult actions are also dependent on the state of mind. Just becasue one is little above 18 is adult and little below is juvenile is wrong founded.Especially in case of crimes ,no offender should take the garb of “technicality” to go scot-free. If it happens then law will loose it’s very purpose.To make 18 as eligibility to vote or get a driving license is fine , but crime is altogether a different realm and the definition of adult “only 18 and above” as in the case of other matters should not influence the decision of justice system.
In fact, the amendment is well founded , becasue it establishes a procedure and lets the Juvenile Justice Board decide whether it is a heinous crime and whether he be tried as an adult there by upholding the due process of law.
One can still argue that what will happen if a 15 year 11 month 28 days old commits a heinous crime ( as the law stipulates 16 years or older) – In that case , “ONLY GOD CAN SAVE THE COUNTRY”, as 16 is probably as low as a law can get to declare one as an adult .One only could hope that , in our lifetime such a day should never come where a juvenile less than 16 years commits such an act or for that matter anyone of any age.(An article came in this regard too – Juvenile Justice Bill: If the nature of the crime is critical, why stop at 16, not 13?)
Lastly, “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done” , and in this case it is vital that rule of law is upheld and public faith in justice system is restored .Erosion of public faith in justice system will be disastrous for any country and in this case if the former juvenile gets just a slap on the wrist for committing such a heinous act which ultimately led to loss of life , is the last thing the public wants as justice.
As much as one can argue that public pressure should not influence justice system , at the end of the day – the justice system is there to serve the public and so is our parliament and other institutions.It is the public that makes democracy and not the other way around, so any argument against the amendment such as “giving in to public pressure” will be an intellectual blunder.
Another set of argument is that it is poverty that leads to this kind of crime .However , if one has watched the documentary , one would understand why the act was committed . The convicts wanted to teach a lesson, taking a high moral ground that “girls should not roam so late at night and other such related things”. For the convicts, rape was morally acceptable but “girls freedom of choice ” was not – that itself is an odd argument.Hence any argument of poverty and crime is wrong founded- no one rapes/kills becasue they are poor ; in fact this line of argument is similar to calling every poor as criminal.Poverty does not lead to this kind of crime. Poverty related crimes are different altogether- by rape , they didn’t become rich either.
The last set of arguments will be – justice should be rehabilitative ; however this was not a momentary passion for crime, where the criminal commits an act and regrets later; this is evident from the interview of the convicts where they display no remorse . It was a cold blooded murder not a momentary passion for crime , chances of reform is slim when one who has no remorse and no regret over the act.Hence, rehabilitative argument is again wrong , moreover , it is up to the juvenile justice board to decide whether he should be tried as an adult with the help of a psychiatrist.
Prisons are there as a correction center, but no prison can correct those who are already beyond correction.As much as we praise and see the good in everyone, it is equally important not to forget the evil side of human either ( lets not forget the world has seen both Gandhi and Hitler)
Note :- This analysis is exclusive to UPSCTREE, chances are that one may not agree with the reasoning and has an alternative view. In that case , do comment in the comment section and let us know your reasoning and we will be happy to debate, discuss and deliberate on the issue further.
2)Global Footprint Network and Earth Overshoot Day:-
Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.
Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. And of course, we only have one.
Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.
Every year Global Footprint Network raises awareness about global ecological overshoot with its Earth Overshoot Day campaign, which attracts media attention around the world. Earth Overshoot Day is the day on the calendar when humanity has used up the resources that it takes the planet the full year to regenerate. Earth Overshoot Day has moved from early October in 2000 to August 13 in 2015
The result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change. These are just a few of the most noticeable effects of overshoot.
Overshoot also contributes to resource conflicts and wars, mass migrations, famine, disease and other human tragedies—and tends to have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who cannot buy their way out of the problem by getting resources from somewhere else.
The Earth provides all that we need to live and thrive. So what will it take for humanity to live within the means of one planet?
Individuals and institutions worldwide must begin to recognize ecological limits. We must begin to make ecological limits central to our decision-making and use human ingenuity to find new ways to live, within the Earth’s bounds.
This means investing in technology and infrastructure that will allow us to operate in a resource-constrained world. It means taking individual action, and creating the public demand for businesses and policy makers to participate.
Using tools like the Ecological Footprint to manage our ecological assets is essential for humanity’s survival and success. Knowing how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what is the first step, and will allow us to track our progress as we work toward our goal of sustainable, one-planet living.
Check your own foot print here and then try to reduce if possible:-