A fast track court has delivered a landmark judgment within a short time in the Delhi gang rape and murder case, convicting all the four accused. Whatever the quantum of punishment, the real fight will begin now. With appeals from the High Court to the Supreme Court, the process will consume a lot of time. In the event of the convicts getting the death penalty, there is the mercy petition which will ensure that the implementation of the sentence is delayed. Let us hope the legal procedure will be completed swiftly.
The conviction of the gang rape accused has come close on the heels of a Bangalore court handing out a sentence in a gang rape case in a short time. Unfortunately, the two cases are exceptions rather than the norm. It is undeniable that extensive media coverage played a significant role in speeding up the proceedings in the two cases. There are thousands of rape cases languishing in various courts on account of political interference, police inaction, delaying tactics of the accused, etc.
The juvenile offender in the case, sent to a correction home, should also be handed the sentence awarded to the four convicted rapists when he attains majority. Only then will he understand the implications of the crime he has committed. When a juvenile offender knows how to cause grievous harm and how to extinguish a life, can we treat him as a minor?
The reason special treatment is given to minors is that in most cases, they commit an offence (theft, murder, etc.), unknowingly or without realising the consequences. But to apply this logic to the Nirbhaya case is not correct. The term “juvenile” should be redefined.
Apart from being a product of society, juveniles are also a part of society. Their punishment should be based on the crime they commit, not their age. The trivial punishment given to the juvenile is just not enough to deter young offenders.
If you expect juveniles to be held accountable for their actions, you must make sure they have been raised in a way that they are mature. Who will take responsibility for the helpless and abandoned children who easily take to crimes? Have we taken enough measures to protect the young minds from getting corrupt and criminalised? In order to do proper justice to all sections of society, we should nip the evil in the bud. Awarding punishments as a deterrent should be the last resort.