The December 16 gangrape-cum-murder case allegedly involving a minor accused is gruesome but such incident is an “aberration rather than rule”,the Supreme Court today said.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said the
number of crimes committed by juveniles is about two percent
of the country’s crime rate and favoured the protection given
to minors involved in crime in order to rehabilitate and
re-integrate them into mainstream society.
“There is little doubt that the incident,which occurred
on the night of 16th December,2012,was not only gruesome,
but almost maniacal in its content,wherein one juvenile,
whose role is yet to be established,was involved,but such an
incident,in comparison to the vast number of crimes occurring
in India,makes it an aberration rather than the Rule.
“If what has come out from the reports of the Crimes
Record Bureau,is true,then the number of crimes committed by juveniles comes to about two percent of the country’s crime rate,” the bench said.
The bench said there is misunderstanding among the people
who believe that a juvenile is allowed to go free after attaining the age of eighteen years.
It said that under present law even if a juvenile attains
the age of eighteen years within a period of one year,he
would still have to undergo a sentence of three years,which
could spill beyond the period of one year when he attained
During the hearing,the Centre had also pleaded before the
court that December 16 incident should not be allowed to
colour the decision taken to treat all persons below the age
of 18 years as children.
The apex court refused to lower the age of juvenile from
18 to 16 years saying “the age of eighteen has been fixed on
account of the understanding of experts in child psychology
and behavioural patterns that till such an age the children in
conflict with law could still be redeemed and restored to
mainstream society,instead of becoming hardened criminals in future.”
“There are,of course,exceptions where a child in the age group of sixteen to eighteen may have developed criminal
propensities,which would make it virtually impossible for
him/her to be reintegrated into mainstream society.
“But such examples are not of such proportions as to
warrant any change in thinking,since it is probably better to
try and re-integrate children with criminal propensities into
mainstream society rather than to allow them to develop into
hardened criminals,which does not augur well for the future,”
the bench said.