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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Being minor, a major ‘ escape’ for offenders

Richa Srivastava, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, January 05, 2013
First Published: 14:11 IST(5/1/2013) | Last Updated: 14:15 IST(5/1/2013)

A 16-year-old boy accused of murder gets convicted at the age of 35.

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And guess what is his punishment? Spend the next three years at a special home for juvenile offenders.

While others of his age who get convicted face rigorous imprisonment, a “35-year-old juvenile” can take it easy at this Etawah-based state’s lone special home.

And had he been convicted in crimes of lesser brutality, he could have passed his time undertaking “reformation exercise” at a PHC or any other government centre.

This is the juvenile (in) justice scenario in the state. Alarmingly, the count of juvenile offenders in Lucknow alone is mammoth — 1100. Of these, nearly 10% are those charged with rape. Their age ranges from early teens to those knocking the doors of adulthood — but accused of crime of most heinous nature.

For instance, a 14-year-old boy is facing trial for raping a woman of his mother’s age.

“Out of 1100 cases reported from 2000 onwards when the new juvenile justice (JJ) act was introduced, there are 100 cases of rape alone. There are several cases where the juveniles are facing charges of both murder and rape,” said Dinesh Pandey, member of the juvenile justice board.

For instance, Satish (name changed), a juvenile, raped a girl and brutally murdered her with a screw driver in Rae Bareli.

In yet another incident, a juvenile murdered a telephone industry contractor in 2008. Five years on, the accused is still out on bail. The cases, like in the regular courts of law, continue to go on and on. While the victims or their families face the ordeal for years, the accused are allowed to move free on bail.


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