Only two days back the Narendra Modi cabinet took a decision that has far-reaching consequences affecting 42 percent of the country’s population.

If you thought the days of Robin Hood or our own indigenous Man Singh of Chambal who awarded instant punishment and justice like Maggi the instant noodles are over, think again.

The popular Narendra Modi that came to power on the back of a powerful mandate in 2014 with full majority is still functioning under the delusion that the stage of euphoria that swept it to power in New Delhi allows it to take unilateral decisions because it caters to popular sentiment.

PM Modi with new ministers cabinet expansion Narendra Modi Dispenses Justice On Popular Demand

The popular Narendra Modi that came to power on the back of a powerful mandate in 2014 with full majority is still functioning under the delusion that the stage of euphoria that swept it to power in New Delhi allows it to take unilateral decisions because it caters to popular sentiment.

Only two days back the Modi cabinet took a decision that has far-reaching consequences. This relates to one of the most contentious issues in recent times because it affects 42 per cent the country’s population.

I am talking of the Juvenile Justice Bill (Care and Protection) Bill 2014 that proposes drastic changes in the laws governing children and aims at reducing the age of Juveniles from 18 to 16 among other things.

The press release issued by the PIB in this regard says and I quote,“The amendments to the draft Bill strike a fine balance between the demands of the stakeholders asking for continued protection of rights of juveniles and the popular demand of citizens in the light of increasing incidence of heinous crimes by young boys.”

The issue of trying juveniles involved in heinous crimes as adults were at its crescendo immediately after the unfortunate Nirbhaya case on 2010. But even Justice J S Verma who gave a new definition to the term sexual assault and for the first time in independent India made trafficking a cognizable offence in his report did not allow the judicial system to commit hara-kiri and asked to the Government to continue with the international convention of keeping the age at 18.

The cabinet of Mamohan Singh was divided but then Minister for Women and Child Development Ms.Krishna Teerath put her foot down and said that Juveniles will be treated as children till they are 18.

Since then various figures and statistics have been floated to prove that the rise in Juvenile crime had gone up many times and cited figures from the National Crime Record Bureau. When Maneka Gandhi introduced the amendments to the JJ Bill on August 12, 2014 she also quoted the figures of the NCRB to paint the juveniles in black colours.

Later the government appointed a Parliamentary Standing Committee in September 2014 comprising of MPS bo0th from Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

This committee after consulting various stake-holders including law enforcing agencies and NGOPs working on child rights gave a strongly worded 70 page report placed rejecting the arguments of the Ministry of WCD for bringing the age of children down.

maneka gandhi Narendra Modi Dispenses Justice On Popular Demand

The report came down very heavily on the government for contravening not one but five SC Judgments by bring this amendment. It is one person’s (Maneka Gandhi) or at most four members of the GoM against 32 MPs of which 22 are from the Lok Sabha which means they have contested and won elections by going among the public.

And yet they say this amendment is on ‘popular demand’. And they are all honorable men as Mark Antony would have said!

By: Amitabh Srivastava

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