Mumbai, 27th November;
Today I’m beginning with a rather receptive topic, that being of “JUVENILE DELINQUENCY“. Has anyone ever paid heed to the fact that today there are zillions of arch-criminals who get away with the vicious crimes they commit? Be it rape cases or burglary. It could be the smallest of crimes to the most high-profiled. It is a rather upsetting thought to my mind that many countries across the globe do not punish such young criminals, rather they prefer to send them to shelter homes or other such places wherein there would be a ray of hope that they’ll show up as better individuals tomorrow in the society and the outside world. It is seen as a crime committed as an act of innocence if committed by a juvenile. But hold on, If the Juvenile (someone who hasn’t completed his/her eighteenth year of age) has the mental awareness of what he/she is doing, he/she is aware of the consequences that it might lead on too, then too you would consider him/her act as an act committed out of innocence? Would you claim that a juvenile who for instance committed rape on a young woman did it as a matter of innocence? That he wasn’t apprehensive of what the upshot of his actions would be? Absolutely not.
‘Juvenile delinquency’ has occupied an important place in discussions regarding criminal law in the country. The Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2000 in India was enabled to ensure protection of the rights of juveniles and lays down provisions to be adhered to while dealing with a juvenile in conflict with law. After the “DELHI GANG-RAPE CASE” issue respect to penances prescribed under the Act is much-debated. While a maximum period of imprisonment is laid down, there has been no attempt to grade the offences as per their nature or gravity. I’ll provide you’ll with a briefing of 2 cases, wherein juveniles were involved, and the offence being rape. The Delhi rape case is popularly referred to as the “NIRBHAYA RAPE CASE”.
Given below is the briefing;
The victims, a 23-year-old woman and her friend, were returning home on the night of 16 December 2012 after watching the film Life of Pi in Saket, South Delhi. They boarded an off-duty charter bus at Munirka for Dwarka that was being driven by joyriders at about 9:30 pm (IST). There were only six others on the bus, including the driver. One of the men,a minor had called for passengers telling them that the bus was going towards their destination. The woman’s friend became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and its doors were shut. When he objected, the group of six men already on board, including the driver, taunted the couple, asking what they were doing alone at such a late hour.
When the woman’s friend tried to intervene, he was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The men then dragged the woman to the rear of the bus, beating her with the rod and raping her while the bus driver continued to drive. Medical reports later said that the woman suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to the assault, and doctors said that the damage indicated that a blunt object (suspected to be the iron rod) may have been used for penetration. That rod was later described by police as being a rusted, L-shaped implement of the type used as a wheel jack handle.
According to police reports the woman attempted to fight off her assailants, biting three of the attackers and leaving bite marks on the accused men. After the beatings and rape ended, the attackers threw both victims from the moving bus. Then the bus driver allegedly tried to drive the bus over the woman, but she was pulled aside by her male friend. One of the perpetrators later cleaned the vehicle to remove evidence. Police impounded it the next day.
The partially clothed victims were found on the road by a passerby at around 11 pm (IST). The passerby phoned the Delhi Police, who took the couple to Safdarjung Hospital, where the female victim was given emergency treatment and placed on mechanical ventilation. She was found with injury marks, including numerous bite marks, all over her body. According to reports, one of the accused men admitted to having seen a rope-like object, assumed to be her intestines, being pulled out of the woman by the other assailants on the bus. Two blood-stained metal rods were retrieved from the bus and medical staff confirmed that “it was penetration by this that caused massive damage to her genitals, uterus and intestines”.
In the 33-page charge sheet, the Delhi Police described the juvenile as the most brutal of the six accused. The accused was declared as 17 years and six months old on the day of the crime by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), which relied on his birth certificate and school documents. The JJB rejected a police request for a bone ossification (age determination) test for a positive documentation of his age. On 28 January 2013, the JJB determined that the juvenile would not be tried as an adult. A petition moved by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking the prosecution of the minor as an adult because of the extremely violent nature of his alleged crime was rejected by the JJB. The minor was tried separately in a juvenile court. A verdict in the case was scheduled to be announced on 25 July, but was deferred until 5 August and then deferred again to 19 August On 31 August, the juvenile was convicted of rape and murder under the Juvenile Justice Act and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility, inclusive of the eight months he spent in remand during the trial.
This gives me chills down my spine; does the juvenile not deserve to be treated as an adult would be in this situation? He was considered to be the one who committed the crime most brutally amongst all the others involved, yet he was given only three years of imprisonment. What I’m trying to imply here is that countries should treat juveniles in conflict with law just as equally. Kids just can’t just get away with such crimes this easily. This is my opinion and it may surely differ from many others. Does anyone ever think how much it mentally, socially, physiologically, psychologically affect the victim? She is left downtrodden, depressed! Especially in a country like India where this is already so much of social stigma for women, It’s a task to survive having been raped and assaulted, I’ll provide with excerpts from another such case too;
The 2013 Mumbai gang rape, also known as the Shakti Mills gang rape, refers to the incident in which a 22-year-old photojournalist, who was interning with an English-language magazine in Mumbai, was gang-raped by five persons, including a juvenile, when she had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound, near Mahalaxmi in South Mumbai, with a male colleague on an assignment on 22 August 2013. The accused had tied up the victim’s colleague with belts and raped her. The accused took photos of the victim during the sexual assault, and threatened to release them to social networks if she reported the rape. Later a call centre employee reported that she too had been gang raped, on 31 July 2013.On 20 March 2014, a Mumbai sessions court convicted all five adult accused in both cases on 13 counts. On 4 April 2014, the court awarded the death penalty to the three repeat offenders in the photojournalist rape case. The other two convicts were awarded life imprisonment. Two minors, one in each case, are currently being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately. If convicted, the maximum punishment they can face under Indian law is three years imprisonment, which includes time in custody.
Please note that they were repeat offenders. Especially the minors, what is about to happen out here day in, day out at least one case of rape. Is it considered that light an offence? That every forth girl in states of our country is being raped? Girls are considered to be the form of Goddess Laxmi in Indian culture. Juveniles who commit such heinous crimes are to be treated equally as adults. India is taking into consideration the above fact and very soon such laws are to be implemented, and I can proudly announce that, soon. Countries who treat juveniles equally surely win my respect. The media is prohibited from disclosing the name, picture, address, school or any other particulars which may lead to identification of the juvenile. However, if such disclosure is in interest of the juvenile, the authority holding the inquiry may permit so for genuine reasons. This is in consonance with the right to fair and just trial of the child.
Having said this, let’s just hope for betterment of all.