Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Amended juvenile justice law hits snag, BusinessMirror

In the Philippines, the bill amending the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 hit a snag at the bicameral conference committee on Monday when senators failed to reach an agreement with their House counterparts on lowering the age of discernment to 12 years old but only for heinous crimes as proposed by the latter.

Apparently, Cayetano and Pangilinan sided with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and insisted that the age of discernment be at 15 years old regardless of the crime committed.

Harsher law for juvenile criminals needs debate, Hindustan Times

The Indian government on Monday defended its decision to come out with an ordinance on sexual assault, saying it has an open mind to other suggestions that might follow. “The ordinance is the first step in the making of law,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister Manoj Tewari at a press conference.
Chidambaram said the government was working on suggestions to have a more stringent Juvenile Justice Act–the law which governs how minors are treated under the law–but made it clear that it cannot be applied retrospectively.

“That’s the law,” he said. “The Juvenile Justice Act is a separate law. Whether the age should be reduced, whether it should reduced for certain kinds of offences, what you call heinous offences, is a matter that has to be considered very carefully and within the permissible limits of the Constitution,” said Chidambaram. The ordinance will not be applicable to the December 16 Delhi gangrape case but its provisions on procedural law will help in “quicker completion of the trial”.

A Delhi court on Saturday framed charges of murder, gang-rape, kidnapping and on 10 other counts against five accused involved in the Dec 16 rape of a 23-year-old woman. Of the sex persons accused in the case, one has been declared a minor and will be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board. The juvenile, allegedly the most brutal of the rapits, cannot be given the death penalty and will probably get a prison sentence of no more than three years.

For more information and opinions on this issue, see the Times of India, the Washington Post, and Outlook.

Bill would aid rape victims, The Cincinnati Enquirer

A state representative wants to make sure that women who become mothers as the result of a rape don’t have to share custody with their rapists.

Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, plans to file a bill Tuesday in the General Assembly that will make sure that anyone convicted of first degree rape in which a child was conceived will not have parental or visitation rights. As the law stands, Keene said, a convicted rapist could take his victim to court seeking parental rights to a child.