On the horrific night of 16 December 2012, Nirbhaya was brutally murdered and gang-raped by 6 men. Of the six, one died in jail and four others were handed the death sentence by the high court; their appeal with the Supreme Court is pending. The fifth convict, who was 6 months short of 18 years when he raped the young woman, is set to walk free after 3 years at a juvenile home. There could be people for and against this reform but should we let the convict walk free? or should he be punished?
Has he changed after 3 years?
If we believe what his counsellor has to say, when he spoke to Quint, he hasn’t seen any positive change in him.
There was no regret on his face when I first met him after he was arrested. Nor is there any today. I didn’t have to grill him to make him confess his crime. He told me in detail about his role in the crime. He told me that he convinced Nirbhaya and her friend to board the bus and later about how the crime was committed by all five of them. He also told me that before Nirbhaya boarded the bus, he had tried to convince another girl who was alone, but that failed when she hailed an auto.
The Counsellor goes on to say that the minor had no sign of mental or psychological disorder and the brutality was all about proving his masculinity.
Are we bound by the law?
Sadly, We are! Justice is one thing and the law is another. Although the whole purpose of the law is to provide us justice, there are some matters which make less than others. The law says that he could only go to a children’s home after the crime he committed. So he served his sentence and according to the law, he is coming out. And there is nothing we can do about it until or unless he commits another crime. So basically, our government is waiting for the time when the juvenile commits another crime so that he can be charged.
Should we be focusing on a change in law and order system?
This thing is easier said than now. Looking at a new judiciary system with changes it law and order would take a lot of time and effort. However, we would like to see a system which doesn’t generalise the treatment given to an entire range of criminals. For a kid aged 15 years who stole something, rehabilitation and a decent job could do the trick.
On the other hand, a kid just falling short of 18 years who committed rape and brutal murder knew exactly what he was doing. He was on the brink of “adulthood” according to judiciary terms and letting him go after committing such a heinous crime would be sending strong signals to many other adults of that age about the simple consequences.
A system is needed where a proper study of each crime is done and a formulated judgement is passed. Age is definitely a factor but assuming the whole range till 18 years can fit in a whole lot of things. A child’s brain starts grasping information from the moment it is born and keeps on piling till it forms a base. After a particular age, you can mould it but not change it completely. This is another thing we should be focusing on. Make laws beneficial for under 13, above 13 and many other age groups based on psychological and scientific grounds.
Society is a big factor which affects every person and shapes him accordingly and it’s rules run on the grounds on fear and punishment. If we breed a new generation of kids who can commit any kind of crime without any severe punishment, we are not inscribing fear of crime-doing, and that could mean so much wrong to the society.
We were built on the grounds of varying punishment for varying acts of our mischief. This needs to be brought here too.