New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Centre seeking its response on the issue of amending the Juvenile Justice Act to pave way for the judiciary to award death sentences to minors involved in rarest of rare cases of crimes .
The High Court issued the notice in response to a PIL seeking amendment in the Juvenile Act so that even minors can be given capital punishment if found guilty in heinous crimes.
The court asked Centre to file its reply by February 14.
The PIL comes in the wake of growing demands from several quarters to give death sentence to all six accused-including a minor- involved in the shocking Delhi gang-rape case of December 16, which triggered national outrage.
The authorities are due to conduct shortly a bone-marrow test to determine the real age of the 17-year-old youth, who was allegedly the most violent and active during the shocking gang-rape of the 23-year-old medical student that took place in a moving bus in south Delhi late last year .
The sixth accused in the case has claimed that he is a minor even as the family of the late victim, her male friend, legal fraternity and people from several quarters demand death sentence to all six accused.
Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by a leading media organization has indicated that even common people want the minor to be hanged for his alleged involvement in the heinous crime.
Stricter punishment for gang-rape, denial of bail for crime against women and lowering juvenile age limit to 16 were among the key recommendations made by top bureaucrats and police brass to the government recently.
The conference of Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police held in New Delhi suggested increase in punishment for gang-rape, setting up of Fast Track Courts, National data base for sexual offenders and amendments to CrPC, IPC and Juvenile Justice Act.
They suggested that punishment for gang-rape should be higher and Section 509 of IPC needs to be revised, besides amendment to Juvenile Justice Act to lower the age to 16 years and grading based on the magnitude of offence is necessary.