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Tue. Dec 6th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the juvenility of a Kathua gang-rape-murder case accused, ordering him to face trial as an adult and suggested a relook at the efficacy of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, while expressing serious concern over the trend of minors escaping with lenient punishment even after committing grave and heinous offences.
A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and J B Pardiwala said, “The rising rate of juvenile delinquency in India is a matter of concern and requires immediate attention….”.
“The manner in which brutal and heinous crimes have been committed…by the juveniles, and still continue to be committed, makes us wonder whether the Act, 2015 has subserved its objective,” it said.
Leniency making juveniles indulge in more heinous crimes, says SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the juvenility of a Kathua gang-rape-murder case accused, ordering him to face trial as an adult. The bench said, “There is a school of thought existing in our country that firmly believes that howsoever heinous the crime may be, be it single rape, gang rape, drug peddling or murder, if the accused is a juvenile, he should be dealt with keeping in mind only one thing – the goal of reformation. The school of thought we are talking about believes that the goal of reformation is ideal.”
“The manner in which brutal and heinous crimes have been committed over a period of time by the juveniles, and still continue to be committed, makes us wonder whether the Act, 2015 has subserved its objective. We have started gathering an impression that the leniency with which the juveniles are dealt with in the name of the goal of reformation is making them more and more emboldened to indulge in such heinous crimes. It is for the government to consider whether its enactment of 2015 law has proved to be effective or something still needs to be done in the matter before it is too late in the day,” it said.
In the Kathua case, one of the accused was held by the CJM as a juvenile, and it was upheld by the HC. The J&K government appealed in the SC. After a medical board held the accused was aged 19-23 at the time of the crime, the bench criticised the approach of the trial court and the HC.

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