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DEATH PENALTY FOR JUVENILES IN THE CASE OF HEINOUS CRIMES


INTRODUCTION


A Juvenile means a teenager or a somebody who is below the age of 18 besides minors within the age group of 16-18 to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes in regard with JUVENILE JUSTICE Act 2015. penalisation, as far as ICCPR is worried, alludes to because the act of executing somebody as a discipline for a particular crimes after a legitimate lawful preliminary. Juvenile crime is, therefore not different from the opposite types of crimes like rape, murder etc. There are many international organisations and countless number of laws internationally as well as nationally addressing Juvenile Crimes and executing for the act of Juveniles. In this research paper the author would be comparing the applying of penalization in India with reference to the other countries. Thus, drawing the road of the impact on the views of the author of implementation of penalty for Juveniles and to foster the juvenile regulations in India. Hence, this paper attempts to analyse the substitute punishment rather than execution if corporal punishment contains a sociological impact on juveniles on the grounds of precedents and statutes like Nirbhaya gang rape case, JUVENILE JUSTICE Act, 2015.


There has existed a presumption within the whole world since the traditional period that the Juveniles should be dealt leniently because there exists a system of thought that says– Young folks generally have a habit to reply in a very serious and prolonged frustration which is accompanied with aggressive approaches.


Juvenile Justice in India


The juvenile justice system in India in view of the legal response with relation to two categories of childrens, namely the people who are 'in conflict with law' (an individual under the age of 18 years who is accused of committing an offence); and people 'in need of care and protection' (children from deprived and marginalized sections of society furthermore as those with different needs and vulnerabilities). The juvenile justice policy in India is structured round the Constitutional mandate prescribed within the language of Articles 15(3), 39 (e) & (f), 45 and 47, further as several international covenants, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and also the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice also known as Beijing rules. Some of the acts related to juvenile justice in India are mentioned below

  • Juvenile Justice Act 1986 & 2000

It was enacted by our parliament so as to supply care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles and for the adjudication of certain matters referring to, and disposition of, delinquent juveniles as a homogenous system of juvenile justice mechanism throughout our country. Under the Act of 1986, Section 2(a) defined the term juvenile as a "boy who has not attained the age of 16 years and a girl who has not attained the age of 18 years" but after some discussion the parliament enacted Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 (herein after 'JJ Act') and also the age bar was raised to 18 years for both girl and boy. The JJ Act, 2000 lays down that juvenile in conflict with law is also kept in a veryn observation home while children in need of care and protection is needed to be kept in a children home during the pendency of proceedings before the competent authority. This provision is in contradistinction with the previous Acts which provided for keeping all children in an observation home during the pendency of their proceedings, presuming children to be innocent till proved guilty. The severe restriction imposed on a juvenile is for 3 years remand to Special Home regardless of the gravity of offence committed by him and JJ Act, 2000 immunes the child who has yet not attained the age of 18 Years at the time of the commission of the alleged offence and from judicature through Criminal Court.

  • Juvenile Justice act 2015

This act was enacted by the Indian Parliament as a replacement to the juvenile justice act 2000, this act allows for juveniles in conflict with Law within the age bracket of 16–18, indulged in Heinous crime, to be tried as adults. The provisions of this Act apply to all or any of the matters concerning ‘Children in need of Care and Protection’ and ‘Children in Conflict with Law’, including Procedures and decisions or orders referring to rehabilitation, adoption, reintegration, and restoration of the juvenile in need of care and protection; Apprehension, detention, prosecution, penalty or imprisonment, rehabilitation and social integration of juvenile in conflict with law; in a child friendly manner. The Act aims at adjudicating and disposing cases coping with juveniles/children keeping in mind "the best interest of the juvenile and their rehabilitation."


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

  • Nirbhaya case


Facts:

On just another chilly December night in Delhi, Nirbhaya and her friend after watching the movie walked on an off duty charter bus at Munirka bus stand in which there were already six other men including the driver. Nirbhaya and her friend were assaulted by those six men in the bus.


The friend, when he tried to shield Nirbhaya, was beaten up by the perpetrators. Nirbhaya wasn’t just sexually violated, her body was mutilated beyond human imagination. Her intestines were ripped and pulled out. All the six men involved within the Nirbhaya rape case, including the juvenile, were convicted by the court. All the accused were identified as Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Gupta, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and a juvenile named Mohammed Afroz. All the accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. Ram singh the bus driver died in police custody from possible suicide on 11th march 2013 the rest of the accused went on trail in a fast track court the juvenile

Md. Afroz was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years imprisonment as per the Juvenile Judgment Act. On 10 September 2013, the four remaining adult defendants - Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Mukesh Singh (Ram Singh's brother) - were found guilty of rape and murder and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging. On 13 March 2014, Delhi High Court upheld the guilty verdict and the death sentences. On 18 December 2019, the Supreme Court of India rejected the final appeals of the condemned perpetrators of the attack. The four adult convicts were hanged on 20 March 2020.


JUVENILE DEFENDANT MOHAMMED AFROZ


The juvenile defendant Mohammed Afroz was declared as 17 years and 6 months old on the day of the crime by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), which relied on his birth certificate and school documents. The JJB rejected a police request for a bone ossification (age determination) test for a positive documentation of his age.

On 28 January 2013, the JJB determined that he wouldn’t be tried as an adult. A petition moved by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking the prosecution of the minor as an adult thanks to the violent nature of his alleged crime was rejected by the JJB. The minor was tried separately in a juvenile court. According to the report the Juvenile had learnt cooking and tailoring while staying within the reform house.

The juvenile’s councilor at the rehab center says “there was no regret on his face when I first met him after he was arrested nor is there any today”.

He was at a juvenile home for there years and was released on 20 December 2015, after his release it had been reported that he was working as a cook.


Juvenile Justice Act in rest of the world

In the US the age of juvenile varies from state to state. The lowest among them is 14 at which a youth is more likely to get adult sentences for serious crimes In the UK, the act named Youth justice and Criminal Evidence Act, 1999, lays down that a child between ages 10 and 18 are capable of committing a crime against the law and can be tried in a very separate court for youth.

Situation in India

SC dismissed petitions brought by the public demand by the general public demand requesting the court that within the cases of Rape and murder, the age should be lowered to 16 years. Even the following petition submitted by Subramanian Swamy who asked the judges to contemplate the mental and intellectual maturity instead of the age especially when the young are involved in a very heinous crime was dismissed.

Even K.T.S Tulsi believes that thanks to the age bar many folks are taking advantage of such a provision which ends up in a sizable amount of youngsters committing heinous crimes. The Parliament has to rouse to the present as soon as possible and alter the law, reducing the juvenile age. “The longer it takes, we allow more and more young criminals to get away and free to commit crimes again,” says Tulsi.

Rate in India

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has declared that from within a decade, i.e., from year 2002 to 2012, India had witnessed a rise of 143 percent in the cases of rape committed by juveniles. Similarly, the number of the murders committed by juvenile witnessed an rise of 87 percent and therefore the number of the kidnapping of women and girls by minor increased by 500 percent.

The 17-year-olds are aware that they’re juveniles and take make the most of the very fact saying you can’t take us sure questioning etc. Though there has not been an increase in juvenile crime rates intrisically, there has been a rise within the severity of the crimes committed by juveniles”, says Himanshu Roy, Mumbai Joint Police commissioner.

Rehabilitation in India

It is enshrined within the principles of international law that the state of remand homes in India isn’t very impressive. Rehabilitation is certainly an important aspect, but there’s a need to guard the females of this country. Does such rehabilitation guarantee that the person after being released won’t return to committing any crime? Its very necessary that this present Juvenile Justice Act be amended. Violent crimes like rape and murder should be included wthin the adult criminal system for the juveniles after a particular age.

It is time that the justice system of this country realise that there is a requirement to supply justice to the “victims” and not the “criminals”. Our justice system always pays attention to the condition and age of the accused. What about the one who is truly the sufferer in this crime, the victim? If such concern was placed earlier, than Jyoti would have gotten justice. Which circumstances may be blamed? Can we say that because there was the presence of poverty, etc. the juvenile committed such a crime?

The answer is NO. When a juvenile is convicted of the crime committed by him, his mental maturity is what that ought to be considered, on the very fact that he was fully conscious and aware during the commission of a crime against the law.

It is very necessary that the justice system takes note of the 2 major things, i.e., Firstly, the law should be equal for everybody and anyone. Secondly, this amendment is that only some way to safeguard children who are unfortunately caught within the web of adult crimes and also save the society” from all people with criminal instincts.

CONCLUSION


In the crimes like rape, murder, etc. which totally destroys the victim’s likewise victims’ family’s morals. Within the case of rape, India being a patriarchal society, the girl has got to suffer plenty and pay money for the deeds of others. The family of those victims need to get hold of the act that’s committed by other and not only for one or two years but for entire life.

In cases like these, the offenders shouldn’t be overlooked and left out to walk free within the society, especially after what they need put the other person through. Our law should be amended, and that we should be inspired by the laws of the countries like U.K and USA, where a juvenile is additionally tried in a criminal court depending on the gravity of the offence committed by the minor.

Our Juvenile Justice Act has to be amended in a way that within the case of heinous crimes juveniles must be tried as adults and must run the identical punishment. If we want to provide true justice to the victims and its relatives of such incidents, we’ll start with this small step to pave the way for wonders to happen. Justice delayed is Justice denied. To grasp this very simple statement, it took all India, one barbaric rape case to question the Juvenile Justice system. After all, let’s remember, criminals don’t fear life, they fear death. And death is an ultimate deterrent.


By Harsh Rastogi





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