After Protests, Rajya Sabha To Take Up Juvenile Justice Bill Tomorrow

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After Protests, Rajya Sabha To Take Up Juvenile Justice Bill Tomorrow

As protests have intensified, political parties have been forced to review their stand on the Juvenile Justice Bill.


New Delhi:  Under pressure after massive public protests following the release of the youngest convict in the Delhi gang-rape case, political parties have agreed to discuss the Juvenile Justice Bill in Rajya Sabha tomorrow. The bill seeks to amend the law to allow trying those over 16 years of age and accused of heinous crimes, as adults.   

Leading the protests against the release of the convict on Sunday are the parents of Jyoti Singh, the 23-year-old medical student who was sexually assaulted and tortured on a moving bus in 2012.

"Netas only remember women when they want votes," said Jyoti's mother Asha Devi. The proposed law, she said, could not change the outcome of her own case, but she felt it was the least she could do for other women.

The protesters, who were detained by the police on Sunday as they tried to hold a demonstration at India Gate, held one at Jantar Mantar today.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court rejected a petition to stop the release of the convict, who was a few months short of 18 when he and five others attacked Jyoti. Thousands have joined Jyoti's parents in claiming that his punishment -- three years in a correctional home -- was grossly inadequate.   

But the court today said, "In absence of any law we can't take away the rights of a person. There has to be legislative sanction."

As protests intensified, political parties were forced to review their stand on the Juvenile Justice Bill.  

The Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad today said the party would support the bill in Parliament's Upper House if brought tomorrow. Derek O' Brien of the Trinamool Congress demanded that public sentiment be heeded. 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.

Even if Parliament amends the law, it cannot be applied retrospectively to the man who brutally raped Jyoti Singh. She died in a Singapore hospital 13 days later.


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