The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the maintainability of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, seeking fresh interpretation of the term 'juvenile' in the statute concerned.
"We will first decide the maintainability of your (Swamy) special leave petition and if we agree, only then, we will hear you on merits," a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said, adding the order would be pronounced within a week.
The order was reserved after Swamy clarified to the bench that his petition was not "individual-centric" and the reference of the juvenile, one of the accused in the December 16 gangrape case, in his plea was merely an illustration.
Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the Centre, opposed the plea of Swamy and raised the plea of its maintainability on the ground that a third party has no legal authority to intervene.
"A third party intervention in a criminal case is not allowed and there was no problem if the petition is not individual-centric. Pandora's box would open if such kind of petitions are allowed," Luthra said.
The counsel for the juvenile, facing trial in the December 16 gangrape case, also took the identical plea and said Swamy is "neither the complainant nor a witness nor related to victim or to the accused".
"The whole objection is misconceived. I have not come against the order of Juvenile Justice Board. I have come against the order of the Delhi High Court. Moreover, the question of maintainability was not raised when the matter was first taken up by the High Court," Swamy said.
Referring to a provision of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, he said it was "badly" drafted and needs to be revisited as it was in violation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Beijing Rules on the issue.
Swamy has said the "mental and intellectual maturity" of minor offenders be considered instead of the age limit of 18 years while fixing their culpability.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had said the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) be informed not to pronounce its