Delhi rape: PIL seeks change in juvenile laws

The Delhi High Court today issued a notice to the union government on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to quash a provision in the juvenile law that prevents minor convicts from a life term or the death penalty.

Delhi High CourtA controversy has arisen over the issue as one of the six accused in the heinous gang-rape of a young woman on a Delhi bus in mid-December, which led to her death, is a little over 17 years old and will be tried separately from the others in a juvenile court – although he is known to have been the most brutal of the six.

The PIL has been filed by Supreme Court lawyer Shweta Kapoor, seeking the court's direction to declare as ultra vires some provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The petition will be heard by a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain.

"Issue an appropriate writ ... or direction declaring the provisions of section 16(1) (1st part without proviso), the proviso to subsection 2 of section 16 ... of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, as ultra vires to the Constitution," said the PIL filed by Kapoor.

The recent incident shows that juveniles who have attained the age of 16 years are involved in serious crimes and are "quite well developed and they do not need the care and protection of society - rather society needs the care and protection against them," it said.