Govt proposes bringing down age for criminal culpability to 16 years

While the implementation of this law is in infancy the government has come up with a new draft Juvenile Justice Act 2018.

The government has proposed an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act suggesting the age for criminal liability be lowered to 16 years from the existing 18.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children’s) Act 2013 began to be implemented in J&K in 2017 after many years of delay.

While the implementation of this law is in infancy the government has come up with a new draft Juvenile Justice Act 2018.

“This act was framed during the PDP-BJP government, but the law department turned down the proposal saying that this is a Muslim state governed by Sharia laws and Sharia doesn’t allow adoption. The social welfare ministry again approached the law department and convinced that the adoption will be for non-Muslims only, but the law department again raised objections,” a top official told Greater Kashmir on terms of anonymity.

“After the fall of the PDP-BJP government, the proposal was sent to former governor NN Vohra, but he didn’t approve the proposal sensing the problems it will bring along, and now the proposal is again being moved and there are possibilities that it will be implemented soon.”

According to the new draft law the age of criminal liability should be lowered to 16 years in case of the heinous offences.

The new draft law also extends application to cases of adopting children. Child rights experts also say that the new draft means a child adopted from outside the state (non-state subject) would get the property rights which could be interpreted as an attack the special status of J&K.