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Rajya Sabha to discuss Juvenile Justice Bill today

Rajya Sabha to discuss Juvenile Justice Bill today
Highlights

Under pressure after massive public protests, political parties have agreed to discuss the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The Supreme Court’s decision not to block the release of the youngest offender in the December 16 gang rape has sparked the outrage and anger on social media and on the streets with many saying the victim’s family was denied justice.

New Delhi: Under pressure after massive public protests, political parties have agreed to discuss the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The Supreme Court’s decision not to block the release of the youngest offender in the December 16 gang rape has sparked the outrage and anger on social media and on the streets with many saying the victim’s family was denied justice.

But the top court made it clear that the responsibility of amending the law to introduce harsher punishments for juvenile criminals lay with the legislature when it asked the Centre how it could support a petition to detain the gang rape convict afresh without framing a law to that affect. But a bill with similar provisions is already before Parliament. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 was listed in the winter session after the Lok Sabha passed it in May and lawmakers decided to discuss the Juvenile Justice Bill now.

"In the absence of any law we can't take away the right of a person. There has to be legislative sanction," the Supreme Court said.

"What kind of crime will make them amend the law?" asked Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s mother, after the Supreme Court rejected a petition to stop the release of the convict.

The Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party would support the Bill in the Upper House if brought on Tuesday. Derek O' Brien of the Trinamool Congress demanded that public sentiment be heeded and the Bill be discussed. Both parties have earlier favoured sending the Bill to a parliamentary committee for further scrutiny. The government pointed out that the bill was listed on three days in the ongoing winter session. "The government is ready to bring it today, but the Congress is not allowing the House to function," said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

"It's brazen mischief by the government to defame the Opposition and divert attention from the (Arun) Jaitley issue," Azad alleged.

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