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Plea on Dec 16 juvenile: SC to pronounce order Aug 21-22

Plea on Dec 16 juvenile: SC to pronounce order Aug 21-22

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday said it would pronounce its order next week on the maintainability of a plea seeking prosecution of a juvenile accused in the Dec 16, 2012, gang-rape case here under normal criminal laws.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said it will pronounce its order either Aug 21 or Aug 22. The plea has been filed by Subramanian Swamy, who earlier this week merged his Janata Party with the BJP.

As a consequence, the Juvenile Justice Board verdict slated for Aug 19 is likely to be postponed.

Swamy Wednesday told the court that his petition was on the larger question whether the Juvenile Justice Act was in consonance with the article 253 of the constitution and the mention of juvenile accused in the gang-rape case was incidental by way of citation.

As the court was not inclined to accept Swamy's plea, it refereed to the Delhi High Court judgment and the petition before it where juvenile accused has specifically been mentioned, Swamy sought to wriggle out of the situation saying it was a case of bad drafting.

Earlier challenging Swamy's plea, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra said that the petition was not maintainable as in a criminal case, a third party could not be impleaded.

As Swamy persisted that he was on a larger question of Juvenile Justice Act not in conformity with Article 253 of the constitution, Luthra said if that was so, then why did he (Swamy) seek the stay of Juvenile Justice Board's verdict.

Appearing for the juvenile accused, senior counsel A.J. Bhambhani contested Swamy's plea and citing apex court's earlier verdicts contended that reading down some provision of Juvenile Justice Act in the backdrop of December 16 Delhi gang rape incident could not be agitated by way of PIL.

The said that one could not take PIL route for seeking the interpretation of a statute.

Swamy has moved the apex court seeking reframing of Section 2(k) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.

He contended that Section 2(k) of the Act, under which juvenile's age is fixed at 18 years, should be reframed to read that for the purposes of criminal law juvenile accused should not be "emotionally and intellectually" more than 18 years.

Swamy has contended that the juvenile accused in Delhi gang-rape case knew what he was doing and what were its consequences thus he should not get the shield of Juvenile Justice Act and should be tried by the fast track court.

Section 2(k) says "juvenile" or "child" means a person who has not turned 18 years old.


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