Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill passed to ‘appease the mob,’ says Justice Katju


Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju has described the passing of Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha as an exercise to ‘appease the mob.’

In his blog, Justice Katju wrote, ” It has appeased the mob, like the Moscow Governor Rostopchin appeasing the mob during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, depicted in Tolstoy’s ‘ War and Peace ‘, or like the mob in Shakespeare’s ‘ Julius Caesar ‘ which hanged Cinna the poet for his alleged bad verses, only because he had the same name as Cinna the conspirator.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court had rejected the DCW’s plea against the release of the juvenile convict of 16 December gangrape case. This had sparked off a widespread debate across the country with questions being asked if the current laws against the juvenile offenders of heinous crimes was robust.

The JJA Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May this year. But, Justice Katju says that the current amendment will not help the parents of Jyoti Singh, who was brutally gangraped in December in 2012.

He said, “Even amendment of the law by Parliament cannot affect the present case, as under our Constitution a criminal law cannot be amended retrospectively vide Article 20(1) which says :
‘No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.'”