Teenagers Will Now Be Tried As Adults For Serious Crimes
| ByMeera Dewaan
One of the biggest stories in breaking news in Hindi at Dainik Bhaskar comes from Parliament. It has been announced that a bill has been passed that will allow teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 to be tried as adults for serious crimes.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill was first passed in May, 2015 by the Lok Sabha, and has now been passed by the Rajya Sabha, which will allow present laws to be amended. The country's existing criminal justice system had many flaws when it came to punishing older teenagers for crimes. Passage of this new bill is poised to change investigative procedures in cases involving children who commit crimes on the scale of adult offenders.
Many people in India were outraged when a female medical student was beaten and gang-raped on a Delhi bus in 2012, and subsequently died of her injuries. Four of the men who perpetrated the crime were sentenced to death, and the bus driver, who was proven to be the leader of the group, hanged himself in jail. A 17 year-old perpetrator, however, was recently released from a juvenile correctional facility because the law stated that his age precluded him from being detained for more than three years.
The parents of the student who was killed lead the charge to have the juvenile justice bill amended to punish criminals under the age of 18 more severely. It is thought that the laws never would have been changed if this one crime had not occurred.
While the new laws will not apply to the 17 year-old who participated in the 2012 crime, it will have an impact on juveniles in that age range who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The law will hopefully cut down on the number of crimes committed by juveniles in the 16-18 age range; statistics have shown that juvenile crime has been on the uptick, with 38,565 cases registered in 2014. The crimes include rapes, murders, and acid attacks.
Several members of Parliament and some legal experts feel that the new laws might do more harm than good. The atmosphere surrounding the passing of the laws is highly charged and very emotional, and there is sentiment that the new laws have the capacity to be misused. Since the age of consent in India is 18, many parents are worried that their children could inadvertently become criminals if they engage in sexual activity before turning 18.
Moreover, legal experts have warned that when juvenile laws are made too aggressive they can increase the rate of recidivism, dooming young people to lives of crime.
It remains to be seen what impact these laws will have, particularly since the majority of the crimes are committed against women. Right now, though, it's definitely a hot topic in recent breaking news, and more insight and commentary remains to be seen as the situation develops further.