Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Juvenile age

In India juvenile age was 16. It was brought up to 18 in 2000 supposedly because India signed some international convention. After that many criminals between 16-18 have committed big crimes and got away.
India should lower the juvenile age to 16 and say goodbye to international convention. Criminals who commit crimes like murder, rape, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping, piracy, acid attack, bomb blast, terrorist act, and banditry should be tried and punished like adults. It does not matter whether the criminal is 50, 40, 20, 16, 14, 11, or less than 11. People have a right to be safe which should not be compromised because the criminal is juvenile. Reform is of petty criminals who steal food because they have no money but not of criminals who commit grave crimes.
The arguments of those who oppose lowering juvenile age are not valid. One argument is no juvenile is born criminal. This is pious homily. A boy who is just two years old beats his brother who is 45 days old. The mother beats elder boy. The boy stops beating his younger brother. That is deterrence. Crime needs to be nipped in the bud.
Second argument is that people get voting right and driving licence when they are 18. The answer to this is that crime has no connection to voting right and driving licence. There are many who are below 18 and drive cars, sometimes cause accidents that kill people.
Third argument is that UN has fixed the age of 18. The answer to this is that India is sovereign and not bound to follow UN. USA and UK have laws that allow trying of juveniles as adults for certain crimes.
Death penalty shall be compulsory for every murder. On 7/1/2003 Supreme Court reduced the sentence of a rapist and murderer in Poona from death to life. This has shocked most people of the nation. Form of oath or affirmation to be made by the Judges of Supreme/High Court should be as below:
I, A.B., having been appointed Chief Justice (or a Judge) of the Supreme/High Court swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I believe death penalty is the right punishment for murder, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping, piracy, acid attack, bomb blast, terrorist act, banditry, and such high crimes, that I believe castration is the right punishment for rape, that I will faithfully perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, that I will go public if anyone wants to bribe me or influence me, that I will uphold the laws, that I will not acquit any person if I know he/she is guilty.

Updated: January 8, 2013 — 7:50 am

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