The proposal mooted by the Arvind Kejriwal government after two boys, aged 16 and 17, were accused of raping a two-and-a-half-year-old girl last week in west Delhi’s Nihal Vihar is questioned Child rights activists in New Delhi. They have objected government’s proposal to prosecute juvenile above age 15 as adults, if found involved in heinous crime saying that such a move would not address the problems.
Ranjana Kumari , Director, Centre for Social Research said “This is totally unacceptable. This is against our global commitment to child rights. Reducing the age is not a solution. “Even if you reduce the age to 15 and then a 14 year-old commits a similar crime, would you again reduce the age?”. She added “Government has to streamline the law and order situation and the punishment for adult offenders in such crimes has to be made stringent so that it sends out a strong message that rapes will not be tolerated in our society,”
According to Sanjay Gupta, Director of Chetna NGO, there are several unattended issues concerning children which needed to be looked into. He said studies should be done to understand crimes by juveniles.
The co-director of HAQ, Enakshi Ganguly, opined that it was not punishment but the guarantee of prosecution that brings down crime. “I’m completely shocked, very upset that Kejriwal should be making such knee-jerk and irresponsible remarks, especially when there are two Supreme Court judgements that the law on juvenile justice must not be changed and that it is their implementation which needs to be concentrated upon.
“Kejriwal should understand that it is not punishment but the guarantee of prosecution and justice that brings down crime. Reducing the age is an ad-hoc kind of way to address these issues,” she said.
A meeting of the Delhi Cabinet presided by Kejriwal on Monday discussed the law and order situation in the city in the wake of the rape of two minors and appointed a Group of Ministers to come up with a report within 15 days recommending appropriate amendments to the existing criminal law.