The parliamentary committee on empowerment of women has asked the government to lower the age of male juvenile from 18 to 16 years so that the offenders involved in heinous crime against women could be tried under the criminal laws.
“The Committee are of considered opinion that in spite of the fact that the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 was amended in the year 2000 and the age of juvenile males and females was brought at par as below the age of 18 years, it has not produced the desired results,” report said.
Claiming that crimes against women committed by juveniles have shown an upward trend, the committee observed that a total of 22,740 IPC crimes were committed by juveniles during 2010 which increased to 25,125 crimes during 2011. The committee also analysed the profile of juveniles apprehended and found that most of the crimes have been committed by male juveniles in the age group of 16-18 years.
In 2010, juveniles were involved in 858 cases of rape, 391 cases of kidnapping & abduction of women and 536 cases of molestation which rose to 1,149 cases of rape, 600 cases of kidnapping & abduction of women and 573 cases of molestation in 2011.
“The reasons for juveniles getting into various forms of crime vary from impulsive disorder, peer pressure, disturbed environment to broken family, aggression, lavish lifestyles and uncontrolled freedom from parents,” the report said. Earlier, Justice JS Verma Committee report had ruled out lowering of juvenile age from 18 to 16 years despite demands from various quarters.
However, the committee, raising the horrific Delhi gang-rape incident on Dec 16, said the issue of juvenile age requires discussions on the remedial measures that need to be initiated by various stakeholders, including the law enforcement agencies.
The sixth and reportedly the most brutal accused in the Delhi gang-rape case was declared minor by the Juvenile Justice Board on January 28, 2013.
According to the act, any juvenile if convicted can be sent to a special juvenile home for a maximum of three years but cannot stay in special home after turning 18.