Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Denying bail to a boy, who is accused of raping a girl, the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has termed the Juvenile Justice Act as “totally inadequate and ill-equipped” to deal with such cases, and asked how many more Nirbhayas' (rape victims') sacrifices are required to shake the conscience of country's lawmakers.
It also said that this Act gives a “free hand” to the delinquents under the age of 16 years to commit heinous offences. The bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar made the observations while denying bail to the minor accused while hearing the case on June 15. The court order was posted on June 25, a government panel lawyer Poorva Mahajan said on Friday.
“As a parting note, this court is also at pains to observe that the Legislature has still not learnt any lesson from the Nirbhaya case of Delhi. As the age of a child is still kept below 16 years in heinous offences under section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, giving a free hand to the delinquents under the age of 16 years to commit heinous offences,” the court said.
Thus, apparently, despite committing a heinous offence, the petitioner would be tried as a juvenile only, because he is less than 16 years old as provided under Section 15 of the Act, the court added.
“Apparently, the present law to deal with such cases is totally inadequate and ill-equipped and this court really wonders as to how many more Nirbhayas' sacrifices would be required to shake the conscious of the lawmakers of this country,” the court said in the judgement.
The conduct of the petitioner clearly reveals that he committed this offence with full consciousness and it cannot be said that it was committed in ignorance, it said.
“This court is unable to agree with the observation made by the probationary officer that an offence of rape can be committed due to ignorance. An offence of rape, being carnal in nature, cannot be committed unless a person has the specific knowledge of the same.
“In such circumstances, in the considered opinion of this court, if the petitioner is again left to the care of his parents, considering their earlier negligence to harness him, it cannot be said that the girls of tender age around him would be safe and secure, especially when he is enjoying the protection of Juvenile Justice Act. Thus, his release, in the considered opinion of this court, would defeat the ends of justice,” the order said.
Opposing the plea, Mahajan pointed out that rape cannot be considered as a “negligent act” as it requires all kind of knowledge and the person, even if a minor, cannot just commit it just out of ignorance.”
“Moreover, no one can commit such a heinous crime twice in ignorance as the accused had done it and the same was pointed out by the victim in her statement to the cops,” she said.
The offence had been committed twice by the accused against the victim in January this year in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. The counsel for the petitioner (accused), however, has submitted that the lower courts have erred in not allowing the petitioner's application filed under section 12 of the Act, and not releasing him on bail.