Harish Jharia

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29 January 2013

Delhi Gang Rape: The Entity of ‘Minor’ and ‘Juvenile’ Should Be Defined Differently


© Harish Jharia

The Juvenile Justice Board has declared the sixth rogue rapist as a juvenile / minor. Eventually, the rapist who took active part in the gang rape and attempt to murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi will be tried as a juvenile. As a result of this verdict the hardcore pervert rapist who brutally mutilated the victim’s body during the gang rape and actively participated in attempt to murder would face a maximum of three years sentence in prison if at all convicted.

The shocked victim's father said when he watched the television news "A sudden current ran through my body in disbelief. I can't believe this," he told reporters... "How can they declare him a minor? Do they not see what they did?"

It is reported that the Juvenile Justice Board has reached to this conclusion after checking the date of birth of the rapist in his 10th class certificate. They also called the current and the erstwhile Principals of the school, where the rapist studied, and asked about the genuineness of the date of birth and the 10th class certificate. 

The following points come to our mind on watching the procedure followed by the Juvenile Justice Board to conform / counter check the genuinely of the date of birth in 10th class certificate:
  1. If the 10th class certificate was the legal testimony for date of birth; then, what was the necessity and justification of calling the current and the erstwhile Principals of the rapist’s school?
  2. The 10th class certificate is issued by the Board of Secondary Education in the State capital. Therefore, the school Principal’s statements do not carry any validity.
  3. If any school authorities were to be consulted; then, that should have been the school where the rapist was first admitted in class one. 
  4. In addition, the hospital should have been consulted, where the rapist was born. 
  5. If the rapist was born at his home in any village, then, the village watchman / Patwari should have been called to conform the correct date of birth along with their books. 
The following points come to our mind on observing the success progress of this case regarding involvement of a minor / juvenile in a gang murder: 
  1. Why at all a minor should be considered a juvenile?
  2. Why not the entity of a ‘minor’ and a ‘juvenile’ should be differently defined?
  3. A minor should have adequate protection in his civic life and for that he / she could be qualified as a ‘minor’ up to the age of 18 years.
  4. The minors who have become threat to the society because of their heinous crimes, perverted sex assaults , rapes, gang rapes, murders etc cannot be considered ‘minors’.
  5. Humans who reach their puberty at the age of 12 cannot be considered children for another 6 years after their puberty. 
In view of the above there should be an amendment in the constitution for defining two categories of teenagers as follows:
  1. Juvenile / Child: A new category of children that is ‘Juvenile / Child’ should be defined for providing protection and specifying rights for them. The specified age of ‘Juvenile / Child’ should be up to 15 years.
  2. Minor: The existing category of minor should not enjoy the rights and protection provided for the ‘Juvenile / Child’. The minors should be in the age group between 16 years to 18 years. 
  3. The rights and protection for ‘Minor’ and ‘Juvenile / Child’ should be freshly drafted by a committee consisting of jurists, criminologists, psychologists, sociologists and doctors (Physiology, Anatomy). 
  4. The recommendations of this committee would go through the established official procedure in order to make required amendment in the constitution or / and in criminal law.  
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