Sunday, 3 February 2013

Juvenile Laws: Date of Birth or Magnitude of Crime?

‘Juvenile’ laws (pun intended):  Date of Birth or Magnitude of Crime?

Will Insurance companies provide life cover to children with life-threatening diseases? Will children with terminal diseases like last-stage Cancer or AIDS be discounted for in insurance calculations and provided with life cover? Definitely not. Doesn’t make any sense in getting emotional about pure-play insurance risk models.

Then how come our India’s security insurer i.e. our law system is all set to let loose a cancerous ‘juvenile’ psychopath into our society by as early as 2016?

After spending 3 years maximum in a remand home, the now ‘juvenile’ (17 years, 9 months) Delhi Gang rapist (and the most brutal of them all) and the then 21-year old psychopath will be no less than a ticking time bomb unleashed on our society. No less than a social terrorist, a suicide bomber, a Fidayeen. Probability models suggest (just like that for Smokers and Diabetic patients), that a minor perpetrator of a heinous crime, who is let off relatively easily, has a huge possibility of committing similar brutal crimes once back in the game.

Wisdom demands that the law treat minors committing petty crimes gently. However, it also demands that minors mentally and physically capable of committing heinous, adult crimes be treated like adults and punish like the devils they are. Isn’t there a difference between stealing a loaf of bread and committing a cold-blooded, cannibalistic sexual assault for hours and then trying to kill the victim (with absolutely zero motive or provocation or act of revenge)? It's as rare as it gets! In today’s age of violent video games, suggestive television and easy access to porn, the age of innocence has reduced drastically. Children are attaining puberty much earlier, understanding the good, the bad and ugly of life much much earlier. A child of 12 could have all the mental faculties of planning, preparing and committing some of the most dastardly crimes. Why then is the Indian Penal Code not willing to bite the bullet?

Yes, we live in a compassionate society, the land of Mahatma Gandhi. An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. But can the law get a bit more rational, a bit less emotional? If you unleash a violently criminal person on a civilised society based on his date of birth and not on the nature of his crime, you put that society at serious risk. Who will track these ‘on the prowl’ psychopaths let loose on the society, anonymous under the cover of India’s billion something population?

Think. Change. Before the cold-blooded criminal changes yet another young girl’s life.

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