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India Toughens Law On Juvenile Crimes, r*pe Inclusive

The Indian parliament has passed a bill which allows juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age to be tried as adults for serious crimes like r*pe or murder. At present, those under 18 can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reform facility.

The move to change the law gathered momentum after the youngest convict in the notorious 2012 Delhi gang r*pe was recently released from detention. The parents of the victim were among those campaigning to change the law.

On Tuesday, the Juvenile Justice Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha – the upper house of the parliament. The bill was approved by the Lok Sabha – the lower house – in May.

It will now have to be signed by the president to become law – which, correspondents say, is a mere formality. The new law will not apply to the youngest 2012 defiler, but it will be used in future cases involving juvenile offenders above 16 years.