A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R.F. Nariman and Justice U.U. Lalit urged Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to get back with a reply over the issues being considered by the Government with respect to crime committed by the juveniles.
Rohatgi submitted before the Court that the entire scheme of juvenility is engaging the attention of the Central Government. While dealing with the issue, two suggestions were given to the learned Attorney General, namely, whether there is any kind of consideration as regards the reduction of age, and whether the juvenility will depend upon the nature of offence committed.
The Bench explained, "To elaborate, whether the attention of the Government will be drawn to the prevailing atmosphere that most of the juveniles are engaged in horrendous and heinous crimes like rape, murder and drug-peddling, etc."
The Court was hearing a case where in the Central Bureau of Investigation had approached the Court as the High Court of Calcutta has declined to interfere with regard to the age of an accused on the ground that there is proof that he is a juvenile.
The Bench also asserted, "Why should those just under 18 committing whatever offences, like rape, murder, NDPS (drug cases) be exonerated on the ground of juvenility? Maturity is not attained overnight but gradually….Go by how the human neurons (nerve cells) are growing. Liberty is not absolute under Article 21. You really cannot have a cut-off date like in service jurisprudence. Democracy rests on the rule of law. Rule of law is the spine. Let us not be oblivious of the crime that takes place."
The Attorney General agreed to file an affidavit in three weeks on the issue after obtaining instructions from the competent authority. The matter is now listed for 24th November.
Read the order here.