New Delhi: Justice JS Verma committee, constituted to look into rape laws, on Wednesday refused to propose lowering the legally defined age for juvenile delinquents from 18 to 16 years. "The condition of juvenile homes in the country is pathetic," Justice Verma said at a press conference after submitting his report to the Union Home Ministry.
In the report, the committee observed that juvenile homes in the country were not being run in a manner consistent with the spirit of the Juvenile Justice Act. The state should ensure constitution of welfare committees, juvenile boards and infrastructural in children's homes. The quality of food, the quality of counselling and psychotherapy required to wipe out scars of abuse and deprivation in early childhood should be ensured.
"We are shocked to note that so many of these children have been forced into bonded labour," Justice Verma observed. The condition of juveniles came under focus following the claim by one of the accused in the December 16 Delhi gangrape here that he was legally a minor, not having attained the age of 18 years.