Utkarsh Anand Posted online: Wed Feb 20 2013, 00:48 hrs
New Delhi : Refers to juvenile in gangrape case, says he will get maximum 3 years.
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday, demanding a judicial interpretation of the Juvenile Justice Act since the objective of the Act, he claimed, could never have been to protect persons like the juvenile accused in the Delhi gangrape case.
Challenging the “straitjacket” formula to provide immunity to all juvenile accused since they are less than 18 years of age, Swamy’s petition said that this “bland” classification was arbitrary and unreasonable and devoid of any just and fair treatment to the rights of the victim.
Such a “blanket protection” solely on the basis of age, he contended, abridged the right to life, right to free and fair trial and the rights of a victim, which formed part of Article 21 (fundamental right to life and personal liberty) .
“It is submitted that the Act was never intended to cover hardened criminals, who have nothing redeemable about their behaviour (and have often repeatedly committed heinous offences) and whose crime, like the instant crime (gangrape) alleged to have been committed, partakes of such an experienced diabolical nature that it is not that of a child, nor can any person who has committed it, ever be accepted as a child,” his petition stated.
Swamy’s earlier attempts before the Juvenile Justice Board and the Delhi High Court for prosecution of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gangrape case along with the five adult accused had failed, prompting him to move the apex court.
Requesting the Supreme Court to read down the provisions of the Act so as to permit authorities to determine the culpability of a juvenile accused on several factors and not just age, Swamy referred to the case of the juvenile accused in the gangrape case. He said that in the current case scenario, the juvenile will get a maximum of three years in a special school.
“It is submitted that offenders like… can never be termed ‘juvenile delinquents’…,” the petition stated.
Commending the objects of the Act, Swamy said that the beneficial legislation looked at the children who are in need of protection and care of the state but the juvenile offenders, involved in grave crimes, were already well far ahead in their development, social and psychological.
“They do not require the State to act as a parent and protect their actions. Rather these juvenile offenders need a deterrent in the form of due and strict punishment, to act as an example and a deterrent to the rest of the world,” the petition stated.
It also cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 and the Beijing Rules, 1985, which had recognised that neither can there be any hard and fast rule nor can there be blanket protection solely on the age criteria, and in appropriate cases, criminal behaviour is to be punished with lengthy imprisonment.