NEW DELHI: The Mercedes hit-and-run case in Delhi’s Civil Lines in not an isolated episode where offenders are juveniles.
Going by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2014 figures, there is an alarming spike of 88.14% in cases registered against minors since 2003.
17,819 crimes were registered against juveniles in 2003 and 33,526 in 2014.
Earlier this year, a 17-year-old boy released from a juvenile home for “good behaviour” just two months after he had kidnapped and killed a child last September, was allegedly involved in the murder of an elderly woman in south Delhi’s BK Dutt Colony.
Another 16-year-old boy was held for allegedly raping a nine-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri in February this year.
Latest NCRB data says 33,526 cases were reported against juveniles — majority of them in the age group of 16 to 18 years — for various offences during 2014.
The share of Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes registered against juveniles to total IPC crimes (minors and adults combined) in the country was 1.2% in 2014. The trend is alarming in a country where almost 39% of the population — 47.21 crore — is under 18.
Out of the total juveniles apprehended in 2014, 2,144 were accused of rape and 1,163 of murder. In contrast, in 2003 just 466 rape cases and 465 murder cases were registered against juveniles.
The highest share of cases against juveniles in 2014 were theft’ (20.0%), ‘rape’ (5.9%) and ‘grievous hurt’ & ‘assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ (4,7% each).
Delhi reported 1,946 cases against juveniles under various sections of IPC. Madhya Pradesh (6,346 cases) topped the list followed by Maharashtra ( 5,175 cases), Bihar ( 4,044 cases), Rajasthan (2,174 cases), Chhattisgarh (1,611 cases) and Gujarat (1,595 cases).
These seven states together account for 68.3% of total cases of juveniles in conflict with law in the country.
These alarming figures coupled with the release of lone juvenile convict in the December 16 gang rape case after spending three years in an observation home last year, prompted a change in law dealing with minors.
The law permits juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences.