Juvenile Justice "Concept Is Itself Faulty"
Undoubtedly there is no age to commit crime. This is proven fact from 2012 Delhi gang rape case in which minor along with his friends committed rape and sexual assault against a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern resulted into her death after thirteen days while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore. This case was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. It got a wide publicity not because it was the first rape case in India but firstly the offence was committed in a most heinous way and secondly it involved a minor who unlike his co-offenders had not received punishment for death and was sent to Observation and Special Home. He was the one who committed the most gruesome act among his group but will be freed after his three year term in Observation and Special Home.
Even that Juvenile Offender was not the first juvenile who committed a criminal offence. Data of year 2011 shows that in India there are 815 juvenile homes exists and around 1.7 mn Juveniles are accused of crimes. Indian Panel Code under section 82-83 prohibits punishing a child below 7 years and above 7 but under 12 years if not received maturity. There is nothing wrong with this Section 82-83 of IPC because even in the present scenario we could not expect child under 7 years could commit crime. The principal is one could not commit a crime unless he has a guilty mind and a child below 7 year could not have guilty mind. The problem has started cropping up with the enactment of the Juvenile Justice Act 1986. An Act was enacted to provide for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles and for the adjudication of certain matters relating to, and disposition of, delinquent juveniles. As per said act "juvenile" means a boy who has not attained the age of sixteen years or a girl who has not attained the age of eighteen years. The said act established a Board or a Juvenile Court which under the Juvenile Justice Act 1986 will have over riding effect on any other law in force in respect to child below 16/18 years. It means that it overridden the provisions of IPC resulting into extension of age from 7 years to 16 years. Off Course there is a provision of punishment under Juvenile Justice Act but the maximum punishment in 3 years and that is for a killer.
Do you think there should be separate provisions in law for childern above 12 years to 16 years
The Observation Home which has once been made with the objective of reforming the ill minded minor has now became criminal breeding grounds. It has become a school for amature criminals where they improve the skills of committing a crime from other co-juvenile cohabitants and converted into professional criminals. The criminal juvenile commits crime and threat the victim and family that he will again commit it after getting released in a short time. Even if the age will be reduced from 16 years, there are no chances that the condition will improve because child of 14 years or even 12 years have sufficient guilty mind to commit a crime.
In am not saying that the concept of observation home is wrong and the child below 16 years of age has no scope of reform. It has been successful in developed countries. But we must realized and admit that our administration mechanism is poor for various reasons. The Observation Homes has acting just like jails were no efficient techniques have been used to reform the juvenile. If it is just like a jail then there is no point to do injustice with the victim and his family.
I am on the opinion the we do not require Juvenile Justice Act not only we have a poor mechanism to reform juvenile but also it has causing greater losses to the society, victim and the family.