Recently,Bombay High Court had directed that the Juvenile accused in a particular case be tried as a minor.The court said that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act,2015 is reformative and not retributive.
The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was amended in 2015 with a provision allowing for Children in Conflict with Law (CCL) to be tried as adults under certain circumstances.
The Act defines a child as someone who is under age 18. For a CCL, age on the date of the offence is the basis for determining whether he or she was a child or an adult.
The amended Act distinguishes children in the age group 16-18 as a category which can be tried as adults if they are alleged to have committed a heinous offence means one that attracts a minimum punishment of seven years.
However,the act does not make it mandatory for all children in this age group to be tried as adults.
As per Section 15 of the JJ Act,there are three criteria that the Juvenile Justice Board in the concerned district should consider while conducting a preliminary assessment to determine whether the child should be tried as an adult or juvenile.
The criteria are (a)whether the child has the mental and physical capacity to commit such an offence (b)whether the child has the ability to understand its consequences and (c)the circumstances in which the offence was committed.
If the Board finds that the child can be tried as an adult, the case is transferred to a designated children’s court,which again decides whether the Board’s decision is correct.