I was just going through the internet version of a national daily English newspaper. There was an article about the notorious Delhi gang rape. The trial of the crime has started and the Supreme Court has agreed to review the provision of the Juvenile Justice Act. At present, the Juvenile Justice Act clearly states that if the accused of any crime is less than 18 years of age then the accused will be send to a Juvenile Home on remand. Actually the Juvenile Justice Act has two sections under it, Act 82 and Act 83. Act 82 says that if the accused is under 7 years of age then there is no offence. Section 83 says that there is no offence if the child is above 7 but under 12 and has not attended the maturity stage to know his conduct and its consequences. In both the sections, its clearly stated that there is no punishment for the kids up to 12 years of age. Its true that the children up to 12 years aren’t capable of thinking about the consequences of their acts if the act is of crime. But whatever happened in Delhi gang rape is another type of crime and the accused is just 3 months short of being 18.
My point is that in another 3 months, he is going to attend the legal age and he would be considered as an adult. He knows about his acts and its consequences this means he is fully aware of the crime he did on the night of December 16, then how can he escape from being punished? The sentence should be passed against him. However the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government to lower the age of Juvenile Justice Act from 18 to 16 years of act. I think in many ways, its going to help in curbing the crime now. The accused in the gang rape case have done inhuman act. When they didn’t showed any mercy on the victim and done such cruel act after rapping her then how could they expect mercy and on which grounds? Didn’t they think for a moment that their act is going to make the victim suffer emotionally and physically? Then how could they expect that they should be treating leniently? Did they show mercy on her? On top of their shameful act, they just pleaded innocence when the judge read out the charges on them. This shows that the humanity in them has died. They are now trying to save their neck.
Well, right now, I’m not going to discuss about their mental state. Today, my intention is to write on Juvenile Justice Act. I don't know what was the intention of the law makers while making this law, but its true that the children up to 12 years aren’t capable of thinking about crime and its consequences. Their mental state isn’t that much developed. But the provision of sending them to a Juvenile home on remand to improve the accuse child of doing any crime is something troubling. There are long lists of reports where the child has escaped from the custody home or have indulged in doing crimes inside the custody home. When they came out of the custody home, then majority of the children becomes hard core criminals. Then what’s the use of such homes which becomes the training centres of the children to become criminals? In my view, the notification of reducing the age to 16 is justified because somehow for a normal child, the expectation increases that he or she would know their acts and its consequences. In poor families, the children of 16 years of age, start earning also. If the NGOs can demand for not punishing the children of 16 years and above then why aren’t they doing anything to stop the child labour? Because a person below 18 will be treated as a child. I think majority of the NGOs in the country now aren’t doing much for the social service. Lets see how the Central Government reacts on the notice sent to it by the Supreme Court.