The Women and Child Development Ministry sent the final draft of a bill to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 to the Cabinet Secretariat.

The note, approved by the Law Ministry, is likely to come up for Cabinet's approval shortly. Sources said it was not listed in Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

The changes in the law come against the backdrop of outrage over the conviction of a minor in the Delhi gang-rape case of December, 2012. He was tried in a juvenile court last year and sentenced to three years in a reform home.

The juvenile's lighter punishment had triggered a debate on punishment for juveniles convicted of heinous crimes.

"In case of a child alleged to be in conflict with law who has completed 16th year of age as on the date of commission of an offence under sections 302, 326A,  376, 376A or 376D of IPC, the JJ Board shall conduct an inquiry regarding the premeditated nature of such offence, the mitigating circumstances in which such an offence was committed, the culpability of the child on committing such offence" the draft put in public domain by the ministry said.

However according to the Bill, in no case the juvenile involved in a heinous crime will be sentenced to death or life imprisonment either when tried under the provisions of JJ Act or under the provisions of IPC.

The former WCD Minister Krishna Tirath during the UPA regime had proposed that juveniles above 16 years of age, guilty of heinous crimes, be treated on par with adult offenders.

This move was opposed by various NGOs and NCPCR who stated that this kind of proposal was against child rights.

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