Juvenile Justice Act: Reduction of age from 18 to 16 Doesn’t a heinous crime like the Delhi gang rape come under the “rarest of rare” category? The crime shook the country integrity, brought forth a unique outburst of anger and triggered united introspection on the safety of women and girls. A police spokesman while reporting said that the accused minor was the most brutal attacker of the gang and he ripped out the girls intestines with his bare hands. Children, no doubt merely imitate what goes on around them.
They definitely need to be dealt with differently than adults. The Juvenile Justice Act was passed by the Indian Government for the care and protection of children, including child offenders. Further the Juvenile Justice Act was amended in the year 2000. Before the year 2000; boys aged below 16 years were provided protection under Juvenile Justice Act. The age for boys was raised to 18 after deep deliberation. Children who are raised in a society, full of adult criminals are prone to imitate them. Hence a child cannot be completely blamed for an offence he commits.
The influence of an adult or a society contributes to the commission of a crime by a minor. As the post natal factors, also contribute to the development of his or her personality. Juvenile offenders undergo severe mental trauma owing to their upbringing in crime-prone localities. Constant exposure to criminal activities turns them into criminals. Reformation and providing psychological counseling will help in their transformation. The Supreme Court has recently declined the requests to amend the age from 18 years to 16 years under the Juvenile Justice Act.
This decision of the Supreme Court is unacceptable in the cases of heinous crimes. While refusing to allow the Delhi gang rape Juvenile offender to be tried as an adult, the Supreme Court has pointed out; underage crime still forms only tiny percentage of crimes. A child cannot commit a crime without the support of adults. Therefore, it is the influence of society ? especially the company of adult criminals ? that makes Juveniles commit crimes. This approach of the Supreme Court is very shocking and undesirable.
Is it not necessary to nip it in the bud? A juvenile cannot get away after committing a crime that is very serious and has a lasting impact on the lives of others. Protection of minors is a modern and highly developed concept, no doubt. But we must not forget the basic concepts of Justice. Justice must not Just be done; it must be seen to be done. The families of victims of adult criminals get the satisfaction of watching the culprit suffer; in case of Juvenile offenders the victim’s family remains full of vengeance.
Especially when the crime committed is a heinous one like rape or murder. The rights of the victim and the juvenile accused are equally important. While the victim’s family is entitled to Justice, the Juvenile offender should get a chance to reform himself. But the right to Justice is more important. A Juvenile should be punished on the basis of the gravity of the crime committed by him. They should be seen in the light of their gravity rather than he age of the person committing them.
It is shocking how someone who is one day short of 18 years of age can escape severe punishment after committing a heinous crime that would have attracted life imprisonment had he committed it a day later!! Juvenile crimes are not restricted to assaults on women; the involvement of Juvenile Justice Act India By bargained 18, he would have been awarded a compassionate punishment which would have been gross injustice. Time and again in the last 12 years many murder convicts were released from Jail even after their conviction had been confirmed at the level of the Supreme Court.
In July, 2010, a 26-year-old youth, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a High Court in a triple murder case, was ordered to be released by the High Court Bench after it was proved through a habeas corpus petition that he was only 17 years, 7 months and 8 days old on March 3, 2001, the day when he murdered three people. Had this been a case of theft in which the damage is reparable, it would not have been a gross miscarriage of Justice and the minor’s reformation is more important than the vengeance of the victims. But in this triple murder case, the loss is irreparable and the dead cannot be brought back to life again.
The families of these victims suffer great loss at the hands of the murderer who gets away Scott-free. It is unfair to order a Juvenile to be lodged in a correctional home for petty crimes such as theft as well as heinous crimes such as rape and murder. Ordering a rape convict to spend Just three years in a correctional home is not going to deter others from committing crimes against women. Unless the Rehabilitation programmer in our Juvenile Remand homes are brought Upton the desired levels, the leniency view, because the offender is young and has got a full life ahead of him, should not be taken in cases of heinous crimes.
The atmosphere in any such facilities is not favorable for reformation, and in fact may toughen or establish criminal tendencies. Reformative theory along with deterrent theory of punishment should be applied while dealing with Juveniles committing heinous crimes. The other crimes committed by the minor are dealt with in the reformative manner under the Juvenile Justice Act It is time to reconsider the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. Serious offences like rape, murder etc. , need to be excluded from the scope of the Act. Detention of three years in a Special Home is unacceptably disproportionate to the gravity of an offence like rape or murder.