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Maneka Gandhi is kind but 26-week maternity leave is not for the Chanda Kochhars

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Good news: Govt to extend maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, says Maneka Gandhi

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Juvenile Justice Bill: Age of juvenile merely a small part of the new law

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Juvenile Justice Bill passed: Here’s how Rajya Sabha MPs made their respective cases

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Juvenile Justice Bill: After heated debate, public agitation, new law passed in Rajya Sabha

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New law will keep children and women safe in the future: Reactions to the Juvenile Justice Bill

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After heated debate, public outcry, new juvenile justice law passed in Rajya Sabha

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Rs 10000 in cash and training as a tailor for juvenile in Nirbhaya case is like incentivising crime: Maneka Gandhi agrees with Jyoti Singh’s father

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Delhi gangrape case: It’s about time Parliament acted on the pending Juvenile Justice Bill

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Maneka Gandhi agrees with MPs’ concern over conditions of Indian women, cites measures

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Job, cash for juvenile in Nirbhaya case is like incentivising crime: Maneka agrees with victim’s father

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Nirbhaya case: If he walks free, will the juvenile’s ‘punishment’ act as a deterrent or an excuse?

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Nirbhaya case: Govt may ask juvenile offender to sign legal bond promising good behaviour

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Maneka advocates ‘close watch’ on juvenile accused in Delhi gang-rape ahead of release

New Delhi: Ahead of release of the juvenile convict in the Delhi gang-rape case next month, Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Monday expressed helplessness in extending punishment to him and said while law was adhered to, she was not sure whether the justice was done in one of the most gruesome cases.

She advocated that a ‘close watch’ be kept on the accused after he is freed after completing sentence in the 16 December gang-rape and murder case and said she will raise the issue with the authorities for doing so.

Maneka Gandhi. AFP

Maneka Gandhi. AFP

Reacting to the impending release of the accused, the minister said that ‘justice should not be confused with law’ and that he is being freed because law demands it as he was juvenile at the time of commission of crime.

“Let us not confuse justice with the law. The law said that he could only go to children home… That’s the anomaly we are trying to correct. So he served his sentence and in according to the law he is coming out. And there is nothing we can do about it until or unless he commits another crime. So that is all we can do.

“I don’t know whether the justice has been served but certainly the law has been adhered to,” the minister said and added “Yes, I am afraid we are” when asked if the government was waiting for him to commit another crime.

“He is a person who should be kept under watch. We can’t just let him go and wait for him to do something else,” she said.

On whether she has taken up the monitoring issue with the authorities, Gandhi said, “I will do it.”

On December 15, the juvenile found guilty in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape, will be released. He has turned 21 and will complete his three-year term at the prohibition centre.

He was 17-and-a-half, the youngest of six men who raped and brutally tortured the 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in the capital. The victim died 13 days later in a hospital in Singapore where she was taken for the treatment by the government.

Four other men found guilty in the case are on death row. One died in jail.

PTI

526 cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace reported in 2014

The government on Friday said that 526 cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace were reported during 2014.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said that 57 cases were reported at office premises and 469 cases were registered at other places related to work during 2014.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

She said that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 casts the responsibility on the appropriate government to monitor its implementation and maintain data on the number of cases filed and disposed of and there is no centralised mechanism to collect such data.

However, the national Crime records Bureau (NCRB) has started collecting data under insult to the modesty of women (section 509 of IPC) at office premises and other place related to work since 2014, she said. The ministry “had issued advisories to all States/Union territories on December 23, 2013 and 27 October, 2014 to ensure effective implementation of the Act. The ministries/departments in government have also been advised to ensure the compliance of the Act time to time,” the Minister said.

ministry has also taken up the matter with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee in the accordance with the Act as a mandatory disclosure under Companies Act, 2013. “ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CCI and National Association of Software and Services Companies have also been requested to ensure effective implementation of the Act amongst their members in private sector,” she said.

PTI

India needs a ‘ministry of inventions’ to push for new ideas, says Maneka Gandhi

Mumbai: Stressing on the need to adopt ecologically sustainable and pragmatic solutions, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday said there is a need to create a ‘ministry of invention’ at the government level to encourage proprietary work.

Maneka Gandhi. AFP

Maneka Gandhi. AFP

“What we need in India is not just a ministry of skill development, we need a ‘ministry for inventions’. We need to pay for people to do inventions,” she said while addressing financial sector participants at the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Citing the case of IIM-Ahmedabad professor Anil Gupta, who has 800 patents to his credit, Gandhi said a country like ours need solutions for addressing a diverse set of problems. She said a ‘gobar‘ or cowdung collecting initiative, one such frugal innovation, is helping her earn Rs 60,000 a month from her ‘gaushala‘ or cowshed in the national capital.

From being a “problem”, the dung has now become an asset that is being monetised and is being used for the ecologically beneficial invention of ‘cow-dung bricks’ or as manure in farms and cremations in form of ‘cow-dung logs’, she said.

In the over 27-minute speech, the minister who has been closely associated with animal rights’ causes, also informed the audience about progress done by Indian-origin scientists in creating alternatives for meat from cells created in labs and asked the financial world to back such

ideas with resources.

She also spoke strongly for organic farming, illustrating the damage done by the pesticides like Bayer-manufactured (chemical, health care MNC) neonicotinoids pesticide is causing in death of bees which are the prime agents for pollination of seeds.

The minister said the dwindling numbers of bees have resulted in many western powers taking regulatory action against such pesticides, but its usage in India continues because of the obsession to have higher yields in cotton, where it is used.

She said the celebrated green revolution has had “terrible fallouts” like upping the number of people affected with cancer and making the land heavily dependent on water. For water, corporations are drilling down into the crust in Himachal Pradesh to make packaged drinking water, she said, warning that this cannot continue for long.

Similarly, food processing company Al-Kabeer is using scarce water for washing the carcasses of culled cows in Hyderabad, she rued.

She also alleged that American multinational Coca Cola is drilling for water deep in Rajasthan, which receives low rainfall, and called for much rapid adoption of solutions like turning salt water into potable one.

On the health front, she said the presence of antibiotics through dietary preferences like eating chicken “is making us more unhealthy as the birds are given the antibiotics for higher profits”.

“You have to look at solutions, which don’t cost money but are so radical that they change the way we live,” she said, adding that there is a need of “inventive bankers and investors” to back up innovative ideas financially.

PTI

Modi govt took several steps for Dalits, farmers: Maneka Gandhi

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Lok Sabha passes amendments to Juvenile Justice act, to face Rajya Sabha test

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2014 which will allow children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes. The bill will now be debated in Rajya Sabha, where the government despite lacking a majority in that House, will be hoping it is passed.

The amendments were prepared in the backdrop of public outcry over the Delhi gangrape case of 2012 in which a juvenile accused received a lighter punishment because of his age.

On Wednesday, several members in Lok Sabha opposed the controversial amendment that provides for treating juveniles between the age of 16 – 18 years on par with adults for crimes such as rape.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Rehabilitation and not retribution should be the policy, said many members, while expressing their concern over the amendments to the bill.

The House agreed to pass the bill after a clause that any 16-18 year old, who commits a less serious offence, may be tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21 years, was deleted.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had said in case a heinous crime has been committed by a person in the age group of 16-18 years it would be examined by a Juvenile Justice Board to assess if the crime was committed as a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’.

The trial of the juvenile, whether as an adult or child, would depend upon the opinion of the board which would comprise psychologists and social experts, she said.

The henious crimes, she said, would include those offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which attract jail term of over seven years.

The bill, she further said, proposed to modify the norms of adoption to ensure that uncared children find a suitable home as early as possible. As per the proposal, NRIs wanting to adopt a child will be treated at par with resident Indians.

Although the lawmakers did not have problems with the provisions relating to adoption, they were divided over the issue of trying children between 16-18 years of age involved in heinous crimes as adults. Among those who supported the bill in Parliament were Prahlad Patel (BJP) and Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) who argued that punishment should be linked to the gravity of crime not the age.

Opposing the Bill, Shashi Tharoor (Congress) said it was violative of the UN conventions of children and against the Constitution.

The justice system should focus on “rehabilitation and not retribution”, he said, adding it would be “emotionally, ethically and morally” wrong to punish a child, who does not have access to basic facilities, like an adult.

There is no scientific system of determining the age of a children and in certain cases it is done by looking at the child, he said, and quipped “General (VK) Singh knows it.”

Singh, who is Minister of State for External Affairs, was involved in a prolonged legal battle over the issue of his age when he was the Army Chief four years back.

Speaking on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said as an individual he feels that if a person is capable of committing a heinous crime of rape then the punishment will have to be in accordance to the crime.

Vinod Kumar (TRS) opposed the trial of juvenile between 16 to 18 years of age as adults, saying they need education and moral classes as most of them committing crimes come from economically backward families.

Quoting data, he said crime committed by juvenile as a percentage of total crime is just 1.2 percent.

“In present circumstances educating them and giving them moral classes will help control such crimes. But if he is tried like adults in the age of 16-18 years, it would have bad impact on their psychology,” Kumar said.

Badaruddoza Khan (CPIM) said the lowering of age of trial of juvenile for heinious crimes is not in accordance with the international laws.

“The amendment with regard to lowering of age is short-sighted, unjust and against public interest,” Khan said.

He had suggested that the provisions of the Bill be such that the juvenile be allowed to consult with psychologists to prevent them from repeating the mistake.

P Srinivasa Reddy (YSRCP) said putting the 16-18 years olds in jail along with adults would make them hardend criminals.

Supporting the Bill for the changes it brought about in adoption laws, Supriya Sule (NCP) cautioned the government against drafting the amendments out of emotion.

“The law comes in the backdrop of the gangrape. For one Nirbhaya rape, you cannot make a law out of emotion… You need to look into your international commitments as well,” she said.

Sule said she stands in dilemma whether to support the Bill or not and demanded to know from the Minister what is the roadmap of the NDA government with regard to juvenile age.

“We need to look into the psychology aspect. Every child, although he makes a mistake, deserves a second chance,” she said.

Dharamvir Gandhi (AAP) said that lowering the age to 16 years for trial of juvenile would be injustice to the child as a child of that age is unable to comprehend a situation.

“The age should not be brought down. It will be gross injustice to the child and will be violation of international laws,” he said.

With PTI inputs

Maneka Gandhi calls for country-wide ban on cow and buffalo slaughter

New Delhi: Pitching for a country-wide ban on cow and buffalo slaughter, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Monday night said that it would be wrong to give a religious colour to such a move.

Maneka Gandhi called for a nation-wide ban on cow and buffalo slaughter. AFP

Maneka Gandhi called for a nation-wide ban on cow and buffalo slaughter. AFP

“I think cow slaughter and buffalo slaughter should be banned… the reason for this is that 90 percent of this is illegal. The law says that you can kill them after a certain age (14 or 16). But all that which are being killed now are either pregnant or milking cows,” Gandhi told English news channel NDTV in an interview in New Delhi on Monday night.

“Because once it is going to be exported, no one wants them old. They only want those which are in the prime of their lives,” she said.

As a result, have you seen the effect on milk, she questioned adding, “We have no milk in this country.”

Citing reports that came about two years ago, Gandhi alleged that 80 percent of the milk in this country is fake and entire states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have no real milk and that it is only “adulterated milk” which is in the supply.

“This can’t be a religious aspect. Hindus sell the cows and buffaloes for killing. The Muslims are the butchers, but that is because it is their profession. So, there is no question of having a religious angle on it,” she said, when asked whether she sees any religious angle behind the move.

PTI

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