“Three minors accused of raping 7-year-old neighbour”, headline on the city (Delhi) page of The Hindu.
“In April 2012, a 14-year-old boy, who held a grudge against his neighbour over Rs. 50, allegedly stabbed her to death in northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri. He allegedly also killed two other women who tried to save her.”
Such instances of brutal reprimanding by juveniles are pointing towards the rise of Juvenile Delinquency in the country with the National Capital leading it.
Statistics for Delhi by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that cases of juvenile delinquency under the total cognisable crimes committed under the Indian Penal Code have risen from 581 in 2001 to 751 in 2011 i.e. a 29.25% increase in 10 years.
A ‘kid’ cannot be a criminal by temperament. So what could be the reason for these indignant mishaps?
Young people who are at risk of becoming delinquent often live in difficult circumstances. Children who for various reasons—including parental alcoholism, poverty, breakdown of the family, overcrowding, abusive conditions in the home, or the death of parents—are orphans or unaccompanied and are without the means of housing and other basic necessities are at greatest risk of falling into juvenile delinquency. The number of children in especially difficult circumstances is estimated to have increased from 80 million to 150 million between 1992 and 2000. Apart from this, poor economic conditions, a bad peer group and low literacy rate provokes the demon inside which is nurtured by the stress caused. Due to these, children with connivance of gangs commit crimes.
Youth is the future of the country. If it is to bring the future on the path of development , it is no picnic. Several acts like National Youth Policy, 2003 and Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 has been the thrust by Government of India. Under this act, juveniles accused of a crime are brought before the Juvenile Justice Board and by the provisions of the Criminal Code Procedure, children are not to be taken to a regular criminal court. There is a special court whose objective is rehabilitation and reformation and not punishment. They council the children and persuade them away from criminal activities in the future.
Is this ample for a minor who committed crime which would have led to the same sufferings to the victim if an adult would be in his/her shoes? The heinous crime of 16th December 2012 showed the immense brutality. When the other five are rectifying their sins by death sentence (ignominiously, one of whom committed suicide) , why is the juvenile with the ‘brainchild’ of the mishap still being counselled?