The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed concern over rising rate of crimes involving juvenile accused, saying it needed immediate attention and that it was up to the government to revisit the benevolent juvenile justice law.
The observations came from a bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and J B Pardiwala which held Shubam Sangra, one of the key accused in the sensational gang-rape and murder case of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua in 2018, was not a minor at the time of offence and ordered his trial as an adult.
The top court also quoted American musician Kurt Cobain in its 66-page judgement.
Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there, the court said quoting the musician.
Before we close this matter, we would like to observe that the rising rate of juvenile delinquency in India is a matter of concern and requires immediate attention. There is a school of thought, existing in our country that firmly believes that howsoever heinous the crime may be, be it single rape, gangrape, drug peddling or murder but if the accused is a juvenile, he should be dealt with keeping in mind only one thing i.e., the goal of reformation, it observed.
The bench said it believed the goal of reformation was ideal but wondered whether the juvenile justice law had served its purpose.
The manner in which brutal and heinous crimes have been committed over a period of time by the juveniles and still continue to be committed, makes us wonder whether the Act, 2015 (Juvenile law) has subserved its objective, it said.
We have started gathering an impression that the leniency which the juveniles are dealt with in the name of the goal of reformation is making them more and more emboldened in indulging in such heinous crimes, it said.
It is for the Government to consider whether its enactment of 2015 has proved to be effective or something still needs to be done in the matter before it is too late in the day, it said.
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