Insights Daily Current Events, 10 December 2014
Crime by Juveniles
As per data available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there has been a rise of 132% in incidents of crimes committed by juveniles against women in 2013 over previous year i.e. 2012.
So, what is being done to control?
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has recently introduced the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014 in the Lok Sabha which contains both punitive and reformative measures for children in conflict with law.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014:
Objectives of the bill:
- To provide both deterrent and reformative options for overall development of children.
- The Bill seeks to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children as ratified by India on December 11, 1992. It specifies procedural safeguards in cases of children in conflict with law.
- It seeks to address challenges in the existing Act such as delays in adoption processes, high pendency of cases, accountability of institutions, etc.
- The Bill further seeks to address children in the 16-18 age group, in conflict with law, as an increased incidence of crimes committed by them have been reported over the past few years.
Important provisions in the Bill:
- The Bill defines a child as anyone less than 18 years of age. However, a special provision has been inserted for the possibility of trying 16-18 year olds
committing heinous offences, as adults. A heinous offence is defined as one for which the minimum punishment under the Indian Penal Code is seven years.
- One or more Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) to be constituted, for each district, for dealing with children in conflict with law. JJBs are composed of a Metropolitan or Judicial Magistrate and two social workers, one of whom shall be a woman.
Powers and responsibilities of the JJBs include:
- ensuring legal aid for a child;
- adjudicating and disposing of cases related to children in conflict with law;
- conducting regular inspection of adult jails to ensure no child is lodged in such jails and other inspection visits and;
- Conducting inspection visits of residential facilities for such children.
- States shall constitute one or more Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) for each district for dealing with children in need of care and protection.
- A Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPU) will be established in each district, consisting of a police officer and two social workers. One Child Welfare Police Officer will be present in every police station.
- Prospective adoptive parents must be consenting. A single or divorced person can also adopt, but a single male cannot adopt a girl child. Parents must be physically fit, financially sound, and mentally alert and motivated to adopt. Regulations regarding adoption shall be framed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority.
- Any official, who does not report an abandoned or orphaned child within 24 hours, is liable to imprisonment up to six months or fine of Rs 10,000 or both. The penalty for non-registration of child care institutions is imprisonment up to one year or fine of one lakh rupees, or both. The penalty for giving a child intoxicating liquor, narcotic or psychotropic substances is imprisonment up to seven years or fine of one lakh rupees, or both.
Sources: PIB, prsindia.org.
Crime Against SC / ST Women
The National Commission for women (NCW) has expressed concern over women security at different times in view of the incidents of gang-rape of women in Delhi and other States.
What has been done to prevent such things?
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has taken a series of measures to strengthen the security apparatus to contain incidents of crimes against women.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 has been enacted to comprehensively cover all aspects of crimes against women.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has been sanctioned a sum of Rs.321.69 crore out of the Nirbhaya Fund to implement emergency response system to attend calls from women in distress and provide them immediate assistance.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013:
Objective: it provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.
- It came into force from 3 February 2013.
- It was originally an Ordinance promulgated by the President of India on 3 February 2013, in light of the protests in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case.
- The act incorporates 90% of the suggestions given by the Verma Committee Report.
What changes have been made?
- The Indian Penal Code has been amended to include the act of throwing or administering acid or an attempt to that effect. It is punishable with 10 years or life imprisonment and reasonable fine amount to meet medical expenses.
- Voyeurism means watching a woman when she is engaging in a private act including sexual acts, use of lavatory, or when private parts are exposed. Minimum jail for such acts is 3 years.
- Offences related to sexual harassment shall be Punishable with imprisonment for up to one year and/or fine and are Non Bailable.
- Punishment for repeat offenders shall be Life imprisonment (rigorous imprisonment) or death.
- In case of offences related to stalking, punishment shall be Imprisonment not less than one year but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- The most important change that has been made is the change in definition of rape under IPC.
Sources: PIB, Wiki, prsindia.org, GOI.
India a moderate performer: report
India has been named a moderate-performing country in combating climate change with Australia being the worst, according to a report released at climate negotiations in Lima.
Climate Change Performance Index 2015 report is released by German watch and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.
- India was ranked 31.
- The report has said that India has climbed five places and continues to profit from the very low level of per capita emissions, but overall CO2 emissions have risen constantly over the past five years to about 40 per cent.
- Australia was the worst performing industrial country in terms of climate change in 2014. The poor ranking was due in part to policy changes made by the current coalition government.
- It ranked Denmark as the best performing nation, followed by Sweden and the U.K. Saudi Arabia ranked last on the index.
The Climate Change Performance Index ranks emissions and climate policies of the 58 highest CO2 emitters worldwide.
Sources: The Hindu.
WTO rules against U.S. import duties on Indian steel products
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the U.S. imposing high duty on imports of certain Indian steel products.
The Appellate Body of the WTO has ruled that the high duty imposed by the U.S. on the certain Indian steel imports was ‘inconsistent’ with various provisions of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM). It has ruled that the Countervailing Duty (CVD) measures imposed by the U.S. against certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products are inconsistent with various provisions of the ASCM.
It is seen as a ‘significant victory’ by the Indians.
How will this help?
- This is expected to help domestic manufacturers and exporters.
- The move would help domestic manufacturers, who had been suffering due to inconsistent practices by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- It has significant trade impact for India as out of the current 10 products on which U.S. has imposed CVD, about seven products suffer from the same inconsistency.
The implication of this ruling is that the U.S. has to amend its domestic law to be WTO compliant.
Sources: The Hindu.