Juvenile lawhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/juvenile-law/

Juvenile law

SC reserves verdict on maintainability of Swamy’s PIL

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on whether BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s PIL seeking interpretation of the juvenile law was maintainable or not even as Swamy claimed his petition was not centered around the juvenile accused in the December 16 gangrape incident in Delhi.

“We will first decide the maintainability of your (Swamy) special leave petition and,if we agree,only then we will hear you on merit,” said a bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam. The court added that it would pronounce its order within a week.

During the proceedings,Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra,appearing for the Centre,opposed Swamy’s petition,contending that the former Union minister could not be permitted to intervene in a criminal case,particularly when he was not associated with the Delhi gangrape case in any manner.

“Allowing a third party to intervene in a criminal case will open a Pandora’s box. His petition is individual-centric and he has narrated such details about the juvenile accused in the gangrape case which are not available to anyone since proceedings at the Juvenile Justice Board are not open court proceedings. Narration of details is also not in sync with the Juvenile Justice Act,” asserted Luthra.


Appearing for the juvenile accused,senior advocate Anoop Bhambani also questioned Swamy’s locus (legal authority) in the case and argued that his petition was not maintainable since Swamy was neither the complainant,nor a witness or related to the victim or the accused.

He added that if Swamy’s petition raised questions over juvenility,then the issue had already been settled by a three-judge SC bench in a recent verdict,upholding all the provisions of the Act. “This petition is,however,centered around my client,” said Bhambani.

The court then asked Swamy as to why he impleaded the juvenile accused in his petition and whether he could be allowed to intervene in the pending criminal proceeding.

Swamy then clarified that his petition was not individual-centric and the reference to the juvenile accused was merely an illustration. Denying that he wanted to be a third party in the proceedings against the juvenile accused,Swamy,on his part,said the Centre’s bid to question maintainability of his petition should be dismissed as it was not raised at the first given opportunity in the Delhi High Court.

Referring to a provision of the Juvenile Justice Act,he said it was “badly drafted” and so he wanted an interpretation of the definition in such a manner so as to bring it in consistency with the UN Conventions on Rights to Child.

Swamy had moved the court demanding a judicial interpretation of the Act since the objective of the Act,he claimed,could never have been to protect persons like the juvenile accused in the gangrape case.

Challenging the “straitjacket” formula to provide immunity to all juvenile accused since they are less than 18 years of age,Swamy’s petition said this “bland” classification was arbitrary and unreasonable and devoid of any just and fair treatment to the rights of the victim.