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According to Juvenile Justice Act 2000 of India, persons below the age of 18 are considered juveniles and should be entitled to protection of their rights as children. We(India) are accessories to UN Convention on the rights of Children and need to balance the rights of Juveniles under the Act and the UN convention  on the rights of children with their barbaric and heinous crimes,  for which they face stringent punishment if they are adults or cross 18 years of age.

The 6 th Accused in the recent Delhi brutal Gang Rape case, is a juvenile and falls short of few months to complete the age of 18, and the Police also left out naming him as the accused in their charge sheet and if at all he is prosecuted the maximum sentence he would serve would be 3 years . According to News Paper reports he is the Master Mind behind the recent Delhi Gang rape of a 23 year old Paramedical female student and he had twice raped her and instigated other co accused also to rape her and brutally beat her and her boy friend up with iron rods and pulled out her intestines and dumped them on the road from the moving vehicle in an unconscious condition, naked and blood soaked.

The Above heinous crime shows that Juveniles are also capable of hatching plans of diabolical and heinous crimes and capable of executing them with 100% precision. This amply demonstrates that the most heinous of  crimes committed by Juveniles offenders should be prosecuted  treating them as adults as plotting a heinous crime and their  successful execution in the most brutal manner as in the Delhi Gang Rape case shows .This recent incident of brutal gang rape in Delhi in a moving illegally plying school bus at night with tinted glasses shook the nation and resulted in Countrywide  mass protests from  all concerned men and women alike.


The Juvenile Justice act was further amended in 2006 and 2010 And 2011 and is being contemplated by the Centre of further amendment in future too and it needs to be amended to reduce their age limit from prosecution of heinous crimes like rape, acid attacks and murder to 15  years from the  current 18.


As per Juvenile Justice Act 2000, the maximum punishment for the 6th accused who is a minor as per school records is only 3 years and he would be let off after undergoing this light punishment.. This punishment is grossly disproportionate to the heinous and savage nature of his sexual violence on an innocent young girl. When such minors are capable of orchestrating and instigating commission and execution of brutal crimes like rape and murder including acid attacks as adults on the girls who refuse their overtures of love or lust, they deserve no lenience or relaxation in meting out stringent or harshest punishment in proportion to the crimes committed by them.




I’d strongly recommend the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 be further amended by excluding persons aged 15 and above from the definition of juveniles and make them responsible for their criminal violence against their hapless victims. Such Juvenile Criminals who commit most vicious and savage crimes against innocent and hapless victims should be treated as adults and be made to face the clutches of strong arms of law and be awarded the most punitive sentence of punishment.


In US and UK, Juveniles committing heinous crimes like rape, murder etc are not exempted from harsh punishment not withstanding their age. Hence the Central Government should mobilize support in the Parliament and pass a bill amending the Juvenile Justice 2000- Act to exclude Juveniles aged 15 and above from its purview if they perpetrate horrendous, heinous and most diabolical crimes if necessary by giving retrospective effect(Currently the law is against giving retrospective effect to a protective legislation if it takes away a benefit conferred on persons under such protective legislation by giving retrospective effect through amendment). I’d recommend the Central Government to hold a referendum on this issue throughout the country on giving retrospective effect to Juvenile Justice Act amendment confining the benefit of the Act to Juveniles up to persons aged 14 and those above should be subjected to stringent punishment in proportion to the heinous nature of their crimes  if they are involved in violence of rape, acid attacks and murder against  their innocent and hapless victims I’d recommend that Justice Verma commission should also examine this aspect of giving retrospective effect of reducing the age limit of Juveniles from 18 to 15. This issue should be thoroughly debated across all forums, be it media or civil society members so that the so-called Juvenile criminal or criminals should not escape punishment with a lighter punishment of law


Ms.Nirmala P.Rao

Legal Expert and Political Commentator

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