“CAN AGE BE A DEFENCE TO AN ACT OF BRUTALITY”?

 

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“An act done by a minor is not an offence and can prevent the minor from being punished by taking/pleaing his age as a private defence”- as provided by  section 82 of Indian Penal Code, provides due protection to a minor from being punished in any nature of crime he/she is involved in. Law no doubt is made to protect the interest of the victim and to punish the offender, but it has been observed that where the offender ought to have been punished, due to the protection available under the veil of “Age”, he is set free and not punished. Several legislations, namely one amongst them, Juvenile Justice Act was also created with the same objective to rehabilitated, transform the young minds so that they do not grow into hard core criminals. The legislative being far sighted had viewed that if a child who is an offender be kept with an offender of age in the same prison, then this environment under which the child would be in, would have a negative impact on his growth and development. The opinion in my knowledge is fair enough, as the surroundings and the environment in which a child is brought up plays an important role in his well being.

But if we consider the acts of a minor that is too heinous, brutal, for which had he been a major he would have been punished with death penalty, is it not unfair to set him free because of the defect in the legal system and the legal frame work? Taking instances of Nirbhaya case that happened in the month of December, 2012 where  the six culprits raped a physiotherapy intern leading to her death, one offender had committed suicide in Bihar Jail in 2013, whereas one was set free in 2015 after he was released from remand home under the Juvenile Justice Act and the other four were order the Hon’ble SC to be hanged, the order was made on  05/05/17. The irony of the judgment is that the minor, who was one of the offenders  and  changed  with rape and murder was the one who was most brutal  during the offence but he has been set free and now serves as a cook. While the other five have paid foe their act, is it wise enough to set free such an offender just because he is not of age? Though there has been an Amendment in the Juvenile Justice (care & protection) Act, 2015, but to my dismay, as the amendment has been given a prospective effect, the offender in this case was not punished in consonance with the new legislation. He was kept in remand home only for near about three years and finally set free. When a boy aged about seventeen can be so horrific to a gin, can’t respect the same offence? Is the law not unjustified? In my opinion, law should treat all offenders alike and if protection needs to be given to a minor, his acts should be considered and taken into consideration before arriving to a conclusion. Age can be taken into consideration before arriving to a conclusion. Age can be taken as a defense  for acts done in good faith or self defense but not for acts that are brutal, heinous, at the cost of someone’s else’s life. Right of life and no other person has a right to snatch this right of life from any person.

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