Provision for Amendment for the Punishment of Minor in Rape Cases

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[highlight]-Satya Vrat Yadav, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.[/highlight]

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First of all I would like to talk about the blunder that took place in Delhi on 16th December, 2012.

In this case a lady was raped by five people in a bus; among those five rapists one boy aged seventeen was a minor, and thus he could easily escape from deserving punishment given to rapists according to the punishment coded in IPC.

[quote]Delhi rape case highlighted the need to code the proper punishment for minors, if they commit any severe crime. For rape cases, punishment coded in sub section 2 of Section 376 of IPC, 1860 is “committing rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the woman raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which case, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years.”[/quote]

In all these punishments coded to handle rape cases, there is no provision to punish minors if they commit such an inhuman crime. After the Delhi rape case, a standing committee headed by (Late) Justice J.S. Verma was set up by the government to suggest some amendments in the criminal law. Afterwards, the Criminal Law Amendment Bill was passed in Indian Legislature, according to the amendments made. The Bill replaces the existing offence of rape with that of sexual assault.  Under the IPC, rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent.  The Bill seeks to criminalize the following acts when committed without the consent of the other person: (a) penetration of a person’s vagina, anus, urethra or mouth with any part of the body including the penis, or any other object for a sexual purpose; (b) manipulation of a body part of another person so as to cause penetration of the vagina, anus, urethra or mouth by any part of the other person’s body; (c) cunnilingus and fellatio.

The legislature rejected the suggestion of amendment in IPC, to decrease the age for punishment to a minor.

[quote]I am not asking death penalty or life time imprisonment for minors who commit crime, but some practical and effective punishment provisions should be made, so that those who suffer due to such crimes (mistakes) of minors are given proper justice.[/quote]

I would like to elaborate my theory with the example that: when any child commits something wrong and is ignored by guardians, chances for him to try the same again increases, and thus the child starts practicing unethical activities. Thus, the judiciary should punish the wrong doers, ignoring that the crime has been perpetrated by a minor, as this would instigate him to commit other crimes in future.