Rape is no Juvenile Crime

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Brother of the victim of the 16.12.2012 Delhi gang-rape could not have slapped the members of the Juvenile Justice Board because of his inability to reach them. So, the slap he gave to the criminal who got away with a mere three years stay in a correctional home, in the court room itself immediately after delivery of the judgment on August 31, could be held as a symbolic slap on the face of JJB that made a mockery of justice under mindless submission to how the police has framed the case.

Rape is not a juvenile crime. The brutality of rape to which the victim succumbed was not juvenile. It was a mature and major crime and hence it was wrong on part of the police to project it as a juvenile offense.

The crime being major, the criminal should not have been considered a minor. The JJB should have refused to admit the case for adjudication on this ground and should have referred it to a regular court of criminal justice. But lifeless words of law did not allow the judicial wisdom to feel which crime is juvenile, which is not. Resultantly, a judgment is delivered that no sane Indian can cherish.

The parents of the victim may go against the judgment of JJB to higher forum of law. If they go, that may not be gainful; because it cannot be said that the JJB has erred in its judgment. It has held the criminal guilty of all the charges leveled against him and given him the highest quantum of punishment the juvenile law provides for.

So, it is a fit case for the Supreme Court of India to step in and define whether or not murderous rape is a crime of mature potency. And, to redraft the criminal that escaped yesterday appropriate punishment under the smokescreen of juvenility with a punishment of the most minor nature, on such determination. This is essential to save our female population from criminals whose crimes are more menacing in voluminousness than their age.

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