Crime by juveniles has reportedly shot up ever since the Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 was modified in 2000, increasing a minor's age limit to 18.
Data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has indicated that crimes committed by juveniles have increased by 171 percent since 2000.
Rape cases by juveniles in 2000 were just 198 but 2011 recorded 1,149 such cases and most of them were aged between 16 and 18. Juvenile crimes in 2000 were 9,267, while it shot up to 16,509 in 2001, a year after the Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 was modified.
The data says that 65 percent of the juveniles booked under the Indian Penal Code between 2010 and 2011 are between 16 and 18 years of age.
The Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 increased the age limit of a minor from 16 to 18. According to the act, a minor can be kept only in a correction home and will receive maximum punishment up to three years.
Sadly, the data by NCRB shows that crime by juveniles has shot up drastically ever since the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was introduced.
The involvement of a 17-year-old boy in the recent brutal Delhi gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student by six men has now sparked the demand to reduce the age limit of a juvenile from the present 18 to 16.
All states agreed on reducing the age limit for juveniles by two years at a meeting of Chief Secretaries and police officers chaired by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
According to police sources, the boy, who is 17 years old according to his school document, was the most barbaric and raped the Delhi gang-rape victim twice along with the main accused - once when she was unconscious. The juvenile reportedly removed her intestines with his bare hands and suggested that she be thrown off the bus.
The five accused have been slapped with charges of dacoity, gang rape, murder, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy but the sixth accused has been kept in Juvenile home. A bone marrow test has been conducted to confirm his age, and if the test proves his age claim wrong, he will be presented in the adult court.
According to the present juvenile act, a minor can be kept only in a correction home and will receive maximum punishment up to three years, which means the sixth accused in the Delhi gang-rape case will not be tried in court or face imprisonment if he is proved to be below 18.
However, it is reported that the family of victim's male friend has reportedly decided to file a petition seeking the trial of Juvenile as an adult.
The father of the victim also demanded for tougher punishment for the all the six accused. He said that the juvenile should be punished first as he tortured her most cruelly.
The 23-year-old victim was brutally gang raped and assaulted by six people on Dec 16 in a moving bus in Delhi when she was returning home with her male friend, triggering nationwide protests demanding justice for the victim and stringent laws against the atrocities on women. She succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Singapore on December 29.