Friday, May 4, 2012

Crimes of the Younger Mind

India is faced with a sudden rise in juvenile crimes. For instance, in March and April 2012 we have seen at least three abductions organized by school students, all in their teens, which ended up unfortunately in the murder of the abducted fearing that their own friend whom they had abducted would reveal their identity. We have also seen some rapes and murders done by teenagers in the same time, and in one case it was a rape and murder of a baby girl by a teen! There was also the case of a teenager taking guns to the school to shoot the teachers because one of them had admonished him for some misbehavior. We are nearing the nadir of decency. 

The Indian law gives special protection to the juveniles. The Juvenile Justice Act has a broader perspective on the issues, and considers that the teenagers are misguided youngsters who can easily be transformed. It was also made with the then trend in mind that often teenagers were involved in theft (the most commonest crime among the teens then) given the general poverty of that time, and at times they were involved in other social evils such as public nuisance or some violence. In Indian penal code (IPC), presently a premeditated rape and murder, and rape of very young children in considered as "rarest of rare cases", and warrant for death penalty. Given the complications arising out of the Juvenile Justice Act and the IPC, there is a dilemma for the law enforcement authorities to follow the IPC, while the criminal is indulging in rarest of rare cases! Either the law needs to be changed, or the teens who are indulging in "adult crimes" must be treated as adults! Or else, soon we will have the "rarest of rare cases" happening as if they are routine crimes.

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