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'Age bar for juveniles will not be lowered'

January 15, 2013 19:39 IST
Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath on Tuesday said the age bar for juveniles would not be lowered and all persons aged below 18 would be treated as children.

"The age definition for children would continue to include all citizens who have not yet reached the age of 18 years. Though the Delhi gang-rape case has raised a debate, but a change in law will affect many other children as well," Tirath said in New Delhi.

"We don't give those below 18 the right to vote, the minimum marriageable age for girls is 18, for boys it is even more at 21. So, when we don't give children a lot of rights till they are 18, we should also consider them children till they are 18," Tirath said.

The minister said that in a meeting which was held on Monday, several experts had also advised her against reducing the age bar.

Following the outrage over the Delhi gang-rape incident in which one of the accused had turned out to be below 18 years of age, there had been demands that the law be amended.

The WCD ministry has been reviewing the Juvenile Justice Act, which currently takes those below the age of 18 as children.

The WCD minister clarified that the Delhi gang-rape case, in which 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally raped and assaulted by six persons in a moving bus on December 16, 2012, was already in court and her ministry's decisions were being made keeping the future in mind.

Tirath said the focus of her ministry was to provide better care to those who are lodged in juvenile homes. She said she was considering writing to the health ministry that counsellors should be made available to children

in juvenile homes to aid the reformation process.

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