Child rights

Seven things about the new Juvenile Justice Bill you should know

The Juvenile Justice Bill, which is likely to come up for discussion in the current Parliamentary session, could only end up worsening the crime situation.

1.  If a 16-year-old boy, and a girl aged between 16 and 18 are in love and happen to express it through more than texts, calls and flowers, the boy could be booked under charges ranging from molestation to rape under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.

2.   After the 10th board exams, some friends organise a party, just like in the movies, with music, booze and some of those so-called happy drugs. The police decide to visit because of the loud music. All the teenagers at the party could be sent to an adult jail for seven years or more for violating the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

3.  If a bunch of boys get wild and get involved in a fight that result in blood and broken bones, an admonition from their parents or suspension from school won’t be the only consequences. The new Juvenile  Justice Bill will seek put the boys in an adult jail for assault and causing injury. Depending on the severity of the fight, they could be in for 12 years.

4.  If a student brings his father's weapon to school on a dare and gets found out, there's more than suspension waiting for him. He could do to an adult prison under the Arms Act.

5.    Violating privacy, sending lewd messages, obscene photos, texts and videos are crimes covered under the Information Technology Act, and are punishable with imprisonment of up to two years. This is another route to an adult prison for those young people who engage in cyber bullying and harassment.

6.  The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill is being proposed as the one-stop solution to deterring juveniles from committing serious crimes.  It proposes to send juvenile offenders (16-18 age group) to adult prisons when convicted of such crimes. However, studies, data and recent developments in other countries show clearly that sending children to adult prisons actually results in more crime and criminals. In the US, studies have shown that lowering the age at which a child can be tried as an adult is actually counter-productive. After all, adults prisons are nothing but crime schools for children.

7. India’s existing  Juvenile Justice Act is being changed in the aftermath of the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case because the media reported endlessly the lie that the juvenile involved in the case was the "most brutal" even though the investigating officer of the case Anil Sharma insists that this was not so. Later in 2013, the Juvenile Justice Board also recorded that there was nothing in the statements of Nirbhaya or her friend that suggested that the juvenile was the most brutal. For more information on the new Bill, read more here.

Valay Singh is a child rights activist.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.