Of late, there is raging controversy over the justifiability of awarding punishment similar to that meted out to adult criminals to Juvenile criminals Below the age of 18years but over 15 years, that is, Lowering the Juvenile Age to 15 years.
This issue has been raised again presently by Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Maternal Care and Child Development in the NDA government, and a Bill to that effect was proposed to be presented for discussion in the Parliament, about the pros and cons of punishing Juvenile criminals on par with adult offenders that are nowadays the subject of hot debate in India, following the cases of several boys between 16 and 18 years being involved in serious crimes, viz. Rape and Murder, like the 17 year old boy arrested for his participation in the gruesome crime of rape and grievous injuries to the Physiotherapy student Nirbhaya in the Capital on the 16th of December, 2012, and many such others.For the majority of people are very sore over the ridiculously light sentence awarded of merely 3 years confinement (that too, not Rigorous), according to the Juvenile Justice Act, to that assailant who is said to have inflicted the maximum violence on the girl, in the Juvenile reformatory home only, while the other five of the adults who were with him in the crime had been sentenced to Death, including Ram Singh, the Driver of the Bus used for the crime, who committed suicide by hanging in the jail.
Now, two of the remaining four gangsters have been spared from the Death Penalty by their sentence being reduced to life imprisonment.
I hope they award at least rigorous, not simple, imprisonment to them for the rest of their life at least, and not just 20/25 years!
No decision has been taken till now about the Lowering of the Juvenile age due to the opposition of many people from the Human Rights Wing, who opine that a Law cannot be changed just for a certain percentage of delinquent teenagers in that age group. The Event calls for the understanding of the factors for youngsters becoming ‘Juvenile Delinquents’, of which the Main reasons are,
(1)Lack of parental attention,control or love, or good parental image;
(2) Desertion due to illegitimacy or utter poverty;
(3) Foul environment as in Slums and Red Light areas;
(4)pressurization, victimization or exploitation by family members or peers and older criminals,
(5) as well as frustration on account of lack of opportunities like education and employment for progress.
(A) The Basic or Gospel Truth to be kept in mind always by legislators and Legal Authorities in deciding upon the optimum punishment for criminals, particularly for Juvenile Delinquents, is that no boy or girl comes from his or her mother’s womb as a delinquent! Therefore (with exceptions of course, like the boy involved in the Nirbhaya Gangrape case), it is not wrong to say that Many juvenile delinquents are themselves victims of the evils of society, and are thus entitled to At least one chance to improve by being sent to a Juvenile Reformatory Home, along with psychotherapy.
However, some boys and girls are battered and sodomised or raped by the other inmates in some Juvenile Homes,which makes them worse.
This is aptly and poignantly brought out in the Hindi film ‘Chandni Bar’ starring Tabu, playing the role of a Bar- Dancer, who makes honest and desperate efforts to bring up her children, a boy and a girl well, in spite of their criminal and immoral surroundings, to imbue them with good values, and lead good lives. Despite this, She fails miserably. Her son becomes a murderer of a peer inmate of the Juvenile Home after being sexually assaulted by him, while her daughter is lured into the flesh trade by the Immoral traffic-agents around. The indifference and prejudice of Police, legal personnel and the so – called ‘Decent Society’ (Bhadra Samaaj), whose members have no problem in visiting the Bars themselves, and getting entertainment from Bar Dancers, towards the children of women in that profession, contributes to their moral degradation.
Hence, all the boys and girls admitted to Juvenile Reformatory Homes to give them a chance to improve, need supervision and the concern of society, to prevent them from being harmed by others, as also harming others themselves. Otherwise, the said ‘Reformation’ may actually be a shift in the retrograde direction!
This is shown to have happened to the son of the Bar Dancer( Tabu) in the film ‘Chandni Bar’, who was sent to the Home for getting involved in a minor brawl between the slum area children, but turned into an actual criminal, after he went berserk on being humiliatingly sodomised by a peer inmate of the Juvenile ‘Reformatory Home’ and killed him!
So every Juvenile criminal’s INDIVIDUAL, personal background and circumstances in which he committed the crime, especially if it is his first crime, SHOULD be looked into, BEFORE deciding that he is fit to be awarded the same penalty as given to adult criminals! Else, there is danger of his becoming a habitual, hardened and incorrigible criminal !
(B) THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISSUE:
There are many boys though, who commit crimes like rape and murder,
not because of unfortunate circumstances or excessive provocation, like the boy in ‘Chandni Bar’, but due to the excessive tolerance and leniency of the Male- oriented and male- dominated Indian Society and Law towards them on account of the bias in favour of males in this country,which has pampered men and given them an unwritten right to wantonly molest any girl/woman they set their eyes upon!
It is also very well known that many Adult criminals take advantage of the lenient Penalty set for Juvenile or Minor criminals, to kidnap or lure young boys of 15 or 16 years age, for employing them as accomplices for major crimes and even for terrorism!
(For example, the Juvenile rapist and assailant in the Delhi Gangrape case, who was only a few months short of 18 years at the time of the crime, does not deserve the leniency being shown to him by our Law courts at all, as there is hardly any difference between his Mental and Physical Maturity and 18 year old boys. For psychologists believe that the mental development of a human being is complete by the age of 15 or 16 years itself.
Also, he and his gang had preplanned doing what they did to Nirbhaya from beforehand, just for entertainment, so if it hadn’t been Nirbhaya, it was going to be ANY other girl whom they could trap, to be torn down that way, that night, and he was the most aggressive of the group.
So to regard and treat his offense so lightly, as though he is a child, is an outrageous injustice to the girl Nirbhaya,who has died since then, and her parents, who had not brought up their daughter with so much love and care, to see her being killed at the peak of her life and career in this brutal manner! So the Juvenile Rapist should be awarded at least 3 years of ‘rigorous imprisonment’, in jail or in the Juvenile Reformatory Home!)
In some countries in the West, like US, there is no Death Penalty now, but there IS a provision to try a Juvenile criminal, especially one over 15 years of age, who has committed a heinous and gruesome crime like a cold blooded, Preplanned murder, on par with adults, and sentence him to Life imprisonment! ‘It happens only in India’ that there is excessive, Obnoxious and Perverse concern on the part of the Human Rights Activists including some Feminists and Legal Personnel for justice, rights and well being of the Criminal above his victims! Honestly , the Global 20 Summit Report published some years back, is absolutely right in stating that ‘India is the Fourth Worst Country to be born in as a Woman!’
Our Social Welfare Organisations make so much show, of their anxiety to
‘ Save The Girl Child’, so far as Prevention of Female Foeticide is concerned,
But sad to say,their solicitousness begins and ends with that campaign. Once the Female child is born, her safety is no more the worry or responsibility of these Organisations nor the Indian Law. It can be sacrificed with impunity for the ‘rights’ of a criminal to Live, and continue to take the Life Of India’s Precious ‘Girl Child’!
(Though it is out of context here, I cannot help pointing out that not only Female Foeticide but also Female Infanticide is rampant in traditional societies like Haryana and Rajasthan, inspiring the production of serials like ‘Na Aana Is Des mein Laado’, while some other female infants are abandoned in Garbage bins by the roadside, to be mauled by stray animals, or kidnapped by the agents of immoral traffic; but that does not disturb anybody as much as Female Foeticide, though it is more cruel and painful to the Girl Child. They think their entire duty is over with just closing down doctors’ clinics!
So the Indian Society and Law are in reality, obsessed only with the Safety of the unborn ‘Girl Foetus’, Not the Girl Child After her birth) !
Nor is it committed to guarding the safety and welfare of the grown up
Girl Child or Woman, in view of the callousness of the Indian Law towards her in every aspect of her life, especially in the matter of punishing criminals
Guilty of rape and murder, even of girl babies in the cradle!
Last night ( 14th July ’14) in the Newshour of Times Now, Arnab Charaborty, the Anchor, asked a point blank question to one of the campaigners of the Right of a Juvenile criminal guilty of heinous crimes like rape and murder,to live, viz. “What about the Right of These little or ‘juvenile innocent girls to Live?”
The campaigner said that the girls who survive the atrocities against them, and their families, should be properly compensated and helped to get rehabilitated, to which Arnab retorted indignantly, by asking,” So there is no question of awarding a harsh, deterrent sentence to their assailants. Is it? ”
Equally disgusting are steadily rising incidents of rape and murder of
old ladies of 70 and 80, that is, of their grandmother’s age, by some satyric and devilish minor boys, in various parts of India, but most in the
National Capital Region. Whither Indian Culture! And to top it all, some men make jokes out of such sordid incidents! Really, enough is enough now !
Truly, the Global-20 report has rightly stated some time back, that
‘India is The Fourth Worst Country in the World to be born in as a Woman’!
What I feel is that instead of having just one arbitrary, rigid margin or age limit of 18 years to divide people into two rigid categories, of(1) Juvenile or Minor, and (2) Adult or Major, there should be Three Agewise ‘Layers’, of (1) Juveniles upto the age of 15 years, who may be totally protected by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act; (2) Juveniles from 16 upto 18 years,who may be tried and penalised on par with Adults, for murders of heinous, that is, of an extremely brutal or savage nature, considering that the complete Mental Age or Intelligence Quotient as well as Puberty is arrived at by the age of 14/15 years, and many Girls as well as Boys above Pubertal Age of the present era are more informed about Sex and ‘precocious’ compared to that age group two generations ago, owing to their greater exposure to Sex and Porn through various Media; and (3) The Third category would be of persons over 18 years, or full grown Adults, as at present. This Three- Layer Division, as suggested by Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, would lend better direction for judgement in the cases of those ‘Not so Innocent’ and Unscrupulous Brutal Juvenile criminals like Mohammed Afroz! But Not all our politicians and Human Rights Activists think along this practical yet sensitive line, ‘Afsos’!
I am reminded of the starting lines of a song from the old film’ Aurat’,starring (late)Kamini Kaushal, in relation to the ‘socially sanctioned atrocities’ committed against many Girls and Women in Our (No Longer So) “Mahaan Bharat’, namely, “Zulmaki Nagarime Kisika Kaun Sahara Hai?Zulmaki Nagarime Kisika Kaun Sahara Hai!” “O…, Paapiko Aram, Jagatme Paapiko Aram; “O…, Punwale Badnaam, Jagatme Punwale Badnaam. “Dekh Liya Sansar,Yahanka Khel Hi Nyara Hai! Zulmaki Nagarime Kisika Kaun Sahara Hai ?”
Finally, Justice has won, thanks to the passing of the Juvenile Justice Bill, Today in the Rajya Sabha by a majority vote cast by the True Humanists of many parties upon the beseeching by stalwarts like SubramanianSwamy and Maneka Gandhi vs the ‘pseudo-humanists’ who had opposed the Bill in favour of Juvenile Lustful Wretches like Mohd. Afroz! Maneka Gandhi asked the Rajya Sabha Members pointblank ,”There are many cases of 15/16 year old boys raping little girls of few months to 3 -7 years. Are we going to protect the victims or are we going to protect the rapists?”
I recommend that the Amendment of the Juvenile Justice Bill, if sanctioned by the President of India, may be named as the ‘Nirbhaya Juvenile Justice Bill Amendment-2015′, since it was prompted by the horrible case of gangrape of the girl, and her parents’ determined and persistent efforts to ensure justice and safety for other girls, if not their daughter! It may not be possible to apply the provisions of the Bill with retrospective effect in the present case , but it offers a hope of justice against crimes by such Juvenile offenders in future.In the meanwhile, debate is ongoing in the Parliament over the maximum punishment that can be meted out to Mohd. Afroz under the prevailing rules for Juvenile Delinquents.]
I am also perfectly entitled to use the words ‘Socially Sanctioned’ in view of the latest Shocking case of a Village Panchayat under the Bokaro District Administration ordering the son of a woman whom a man in the same village had tried to rape, to ‘rape’ in return the minor 10 year old ‘juvenile’ sister of the offender in the name of ‘Justice’, when logically, they should have ordered the sodomisation of the alleged rapist himself, though that too, is not within the rights of the Panchayats, because, as the Supreme Court declared recently, there ‘cannot be’ two parallel courts within the country!
In some other cases, on the other hand, some pairs of lovers were hanged to death by their
Panchayats for daring to make love with, or marrying persons outside their caste, some of whom were juvenile. No one has been put to death
so far for Raping girls of their caste or of other castes, against their will,
and killing them in some instances, but the Panchayats are all too ready
to take the lives of boys who Love girls. What about the Right of the ‘Love Birds’ to Live? Love is an expression of Passion, and is a Sacrilege, Crime or Sin, but Rape is excusable as a ‘Galti’ of young boys, and is even employed as an instrument of justice, as in the above mentioned case, by the medieval minded Panchayats.
What has the Supreme Court done about it, except to make statements about the Panchayyats having no right to pass punitive orders in any case in criminal cases, and make a few arrests? Really speaking, these Khap Panchayats should be scrapped and derecognized at once, and their Heads should also be convicted alongwith the direct offenders for taking the Law in their hands! But no ! The Supreme Court has no ‘ Prem’ for those harmless Juvenile Lovers!
AND, we flaunt and boast of the ‘celebration of sex’ which existed in India in the PRE – MOHAMMEDAN, Magadhan times, before the tourists of other nations. Sheer hypocrisy and opportunism!
Why is Indian Society and the Panchayats targeting only females all the time, even for the offenses committed by their Male relatives?
Oh, The Rhetoric of the ‘Superior Indian Culture’, and it’s claim of regarding women as equivalent to the Goddess Lakshmi or Shakti, is one big ‘eyewash’ ! For in reality, India is a country of sexually repressed people, and many unbridled sex perverts running amok, with only the good, law-abiding citizens pressed to the wall by the Indian Law!