New Delhi: The Union government, as of now, will not reduce the age of juveniles under the Juvenile Justice Act, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Replying to a question on suggestions for amending the Act, she said, "We are not yet ready to reduce the age of juveniles."
She said in a meeting held by the Ministry of Home Affairs with Chief Secretaries of state governments and Directors General of Police on January 4 a suggestion was made regarding lowering of age of juveniles from 18 years to 16 in the wake of the Delhi gang-rape case in which a juvenile is an accused.
"However, the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law under the Chairmanship of Justice J S Verma (Retd), in its recommendations submitted on 23.1.2013, has not supported the suggestion regarding reduction of the age of the child in conflict with law. Accordingly, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is not considering any amendment to lower the age of children in conflict with law under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000," she said.
To a supplementary by Jai Prakash Narayan Singh (BJP) on how much time will it take to include other suggestions on the issue, the Minister said, "These suggestions are under consideration of the Ministry." The minister also said that those juveniles who have committed serious crimes are put in different juvenile homes and are kept there for three years, where training is given to them to help make them good citizens.
"We want to keep children close to our hearts and help them become good citizens," Tirath said.
In reply to another supplementary by Avtar Singh Karimpuri (BSP), she said, "The smaller amendments proposed are being considered and if need be amendments will be made in the Act after consultations. It will take some more time."