Crimes by juveniles on the rise in Maharashtra; Mumbai tops the list, says CID report for 2016
Maharashtra reported 6,239 cases of crimes by juveniles in 2016, compared to 5,482 in 2015mumbai Updated: Jan 16, 2018 09:03 IST
Crimes by juveniles (those below 18 years of age) in the state rose by 13.8% in 2016 compared to 2015, according to the crime investigation department’s report on Crime in Maharashtra released in the first week of January.
Maharashtra reported 6,239 cases of crimes by juveniles in 2016, compared to 5,482 in 2015. In 2016, Mumbai saw maximum cases under the category (901), followed by Satara (811), Pune (727), Nagpur (364) and Thane (344), states the report.
The numbers assume significance in the wake of recent incidents of violence, where juveniles were seen at the forefront. While 16 juveniles were booked in the recent riots during Maharashtra Bandh for pelting stones, a minor was found to be involved in the murder of ex-Shiv Sena corporator Ashok Sawant.
The report shows most juveniles were booked for theft, along with criminal trespass and burglary, robbery, rape and other serious crimes. Juveniles were also booked under the Prohibition Act, Gambling Act, NDPS Act and Arms Act, along with other special and local laws. All juveniles have been sent to remand homes.
In their report, CID experts suggest a legal approach, counselling and rehabilitation.
According to the police, currently, the Maharashtra government is considering defining juveniles as those below 15 years, in case of heinous crimes. Before initiating the amendment, the home department has been directed to prepare a report with opinions from the public health and law and judiciary departments. The move will need a nod from the Centre. The Centre has already passed a similar amendment to the Act in December 2015, which lowered the age for trial from 18 to 16 years.
The debate of trying those aged 16 and above as adults first began after the 2012 gang-rape case in New Delhi, in which one of the main accused was a juvenile. While the other accused in the case were given death, the minor accused was sent to a remand home for three years.
Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh said, “There are fewer economic resources now, forcing children to take to crime. It is not about the age, but intention. These days maturity comes in early. If we don’t control juvenile crime now, it could spiral out of control. Proper investigation and conviction would definitely send out the right message.”