The Juvenile Justice Board has sentenced the only minor accused in the December 16, 2012 gang rape to a three-year remand in a special home. This decision is the first one in the Delhi gang rape case that led to public outcry and shock.
The juvenile was found guilty on accounts of murder, rape, abduction and destruction of evidence. The four other accused are facing trial in a fast track court.
The victim’s family had asked for the death penalty for all six accused and that the juvenile should be tried as an adult as a special case, given the sheer depravity of the crime. But as per Section 15(1)(g) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 the maximum punishment which can be awarded to a juvenile is 3 years.
Last week the Supreme Court had admitted a PIL filed by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, demanding that a juvenile’s culpability should be determined on his mental maturity rather than physical age. Notice has been issued to the Central government.
In the petition Mr. Swamy demanded inter alia (a)Laying down an authoritative interpretation of Sections 2(l) and 2(k) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 that the criterion of 18 years set out therein does not comprehend cases grave offences in general and of heinous crimes against women in particular that shakes the roots of humanity in general.(b) That the definition of offences under Section 2(p) of the Act be categorized as per the grievousness of the crime committed and the threat to public safety and order.
Earlier another three judge Bench comprising of Chief Justice Altmas Kabir and Justices SS Nijjar and J Chelameswar has held in the Salil Bali case [http://indiankanoon.org/doc/78971373/]that, “This being the understanding of the Government behind the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and the amendments effected thereto in 2006, together with the Rules framed there under in 2007, and the data available with regard to the commission of heinous offences by children, within the meaning of Sections 2(k) and 2(l) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, we do not think that any interference is necessary with the provisions of the Statute till such time as sufficient data is available to warrant any change in the provisions of the aforesaid Act and the Rules. On the other hand, the implementation of the various enactments relating to children, would possibly yield better results.