Delhi Police today filed an inquiry report in the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) with details of charges against the juvenile offender in Delhi gang-rape-cum-murder case. The juvenile accused will be tried as per the offences mentioned in the inquiry report.
For crimes of heinous nature, juvenile offenders can be sent to an institution called the ‘place of safety’ for a maximum period of thee years as per the Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act, 2000 under which the sixth accused is being tried.
On Monday, the JJB had declared him minor based on the school documents and statements of head master of the school which he attended.
Police will not challenge the JJB order on the juvenility of the accused, investigating officer Anil Sharma told Firstpost on Monday.
However, CNN-IBN quoted police sources as saying that they were seeking legal opinion on the matter.
The next hearing in the case is on 14 February.
The Delhi gangrape-cum-murder started a wide discourse on rape laws. There have been demands to reduce the age of juvenility in the JJ Act from 18 to 16 years. It is said that the current system provides no deterrent to juveniles from committing crimes, and if found guilty, the law treats them leniently as compared to their adult counterparts. Hearing a PIL demanding reduction of the age of juveniles to 16 from 18, under the law, the Delhi High court has also issued notice to the Centre.
Justice Verma Committee report on amendments to criminal law has, however, rejected the proposal of lowering the age bar for juvenile offenders.
The Committee noted that improving the rehabilitation facilities in observation homes rather than reducing the cut- off age for juvenile offenders is the solution.
“We breed more criminal including juveniles in our prisons and reformatory systems by ghettoing them in juvenile homes and protective homes where they are told that the State will protect them but the promise is a fruitless one,” said the JS Verma panel.