Identity of juvenile offenders should be protected: Legal experts
Deccan Chronicle.| Md Nizamuddin
Identifying the minors directly or indirectly is violation of the Juvenile Justice Act
Legal experts questioned the way the identity of juvenile accused' in criminal cases was being flashed across some sections of the media and on social media. (Representational image)
HYDERABAD: A group of legal experts questioned the way the identity of juvenile ‘accused’ in criminal cases was being flashed across some sections of the media and on social media, and made it clear that identifying the minors directly or indirectly violated the Juvenile Justice Act.
They said that the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, which pertains to the issue of children in conflict with law, besides talking about children in need of care and protection, was amended twice in 2006 and 2011, replacing the Indian juvenile justice delinquency law, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Child) Act 2015. "On closer inspection of its provisions, juvenile offenders between 16-18 years of age who may be tried as an adult for offences which are considered to be grave and heinous. Psychologists and sociologists should decide on the matter. The Act also prohibits the media from disclosing the identity of children in conflict with the law," they opined.
Senior advocate L. Ravichander said that even if they were accused, the identity should not be disclosed. Revealing their identity would be a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act. "Through any means (identification of parents) they should not be identified, which is wrong," he added.
Another advocate, B. V. Seshagiri, explained that the Jubilee Hills minor’s gang rape case, from the offences as per the Indian Penal Code, also fell within the ambit and scope of three laws: Criminal law (Amendment Act), 2013, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Child) Act, 2015 and Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).
"Children under the age of 18 years have different mental capabilities due to the development of the brain in different stages. The severity of the crime committed by a child may differ, indicating different levels of maturity. In the case of Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court said all juveniles should be given individual consideration varying from case to case while being evaluated based on their maturity level, education, life experiences, background history, and feelings of moral responsibility," he added.