The Juvenile Justice Board has held that the sixth accused in the Delhi gang-rape case is a juvenile, and will be tried as one. This means, if found guilty, he will be placed in a ‘correctional’ home for three years.
According to reports, the minor not only raped the woman twice but was also the most brutal. The wounds he inflicted no doubt led to her death. To get just three years for what he did surely is a travesty of justice. This is not to say that juveniles don’t deserve a second chance. They do, but the punishment must be as per the enormity of the crime.
The death sentence is awarded in the rarest of rare cases. Similarly, exceptions to the rule must be made when juveniles are involved in serious crimes. In some countries, juveniles are tried as adults if the crime is of an extremely serious nature.
The Justice Verma committee has shot down the suggestion that the age bar for juvenile offenders be reduced to 16. But it would be grossly unfair if a 19-year-old faces the death penalty while a 17-year-old, nearing 18, will walk free in 2016 after committing brutal rape and murder. India needs a more comprehensive law to deal with such juvenile delinquents.