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Juvenile Justice: Is Age limit the right criteria to demarcate a person from getting proper punishment? by Sneha Priya Yanappa

About the Author: Sneha Priya Yanappa is a Ist year Law Student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune

 Abstract

It’s really an irony that the most brutal of all the accused in brutal December 16 Delhi gang-rape case, wherein a 23-year-old girl was gang-raped and brutally beaten on a bus, is a juvenile and hence shall get away with a milder punishment of three years in a correction facility. A nationwide sensation erupted when this verdict was given. It is also pertinent to know that as it was described by the police officers, he was the “most brutal” out of all the accused. India registered 23.87 lakh juvenile delinquency cases in 2012. This case has received such unprecedented publicity, that it has set the worst possible precedent for juvenile offenders.

 The paper aims at analysing whether the“punishment” awarded to juveniles under the juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act is justified and proportionate to the heinous crime they commit. The intention behind the crime, the degree of the perpetrated atrocity and the severity of the crime should be the parameters to judge a case when a juvenile is involved. It is a sad state of affairs that age factor plays a major role many times.

It is unfair to the country if the perpetrators of such heinous crimes be pardoned and let loose in the society. A new juvenile law should be implemented which considers not just the age, but also the degree of atrocity conferred. What should be considered is the intention and severity of the offence and hence the age of the minor should not be the only deterrent.

Keywords: Juvenile, rape, death penalty, justice, criminal

Introduction

Crime’ is present in our society from a very long time. We may disagree its hold in the society but we cannot deny its presence. However, it has been on the rise in recent times. What’s most astonishing is that the young are getting more attracted to what we can simply call the “crime sector”. It is undeniable that they are the worst affected as they are still in the initial phase of what could be a bright future. But, should minors be treated differently as compared to others who commit the same crime? Is this because of the rather lenient Juvenile Justice System? Crime at any age must be treated as a crime. Does a 17-year-old have less reasoning power than an 18-year-old? What great mental development will there be in the next one year? Is he less capable of understanding the ramifications of his actions one year before? Was the enhancement of the age of a juvenile from 16 years to 18 years in year 2000 without any basis? Are they are in a position to decide what is wrong and what is right? To answer these entire set of questions, we must have a clear insight into the Juvenile Justice system of India.

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