Sanjay Dutt to be freed in 2016, Salman Khan exonerated from the 2002 Hit-and-run case, former state minister Laxmikanth Sharma gets bail in the dreaded Vyapam Scam. So, it wasn’t surprising to see the juvenile killer of poor Nirbhaya walk a free man today. This indeed is turning out to be the season of freedom.
Mohammad Afroze, now 20, was 17 years and six months when along with his other demonic accomplices, he’d brutally raped a 23-year-old physiotherapist, who unfortunately would succumb to her horrific injuries later.
At the time of filing this report, I haven’t come across vehement protests, like the rage we saw back in 2012. I wouldn’t be surprised IF we see similar scenes tomorrow. Such protests are indeed the need of the hour for it’s beyond imagination as to how such an accused could walk away free.
Nettizens will bash the judiciary, and to a a certain extent justified, but they were always left powerless because their hands were tied by the law, a law that doesn’t allow minors to be hanged or jailed in regular prison.
“We cannot interpret the law [Juvenile Justice Act] to curtail his [juvenile convict] freedom without legislative sanction. We share your concern, but we cannot go beyond the statute,” Justice U.U. Lalit, one of the judges on the Bench led by Justice A.K. Goel, was quoted in a The Hindu report.
The government said it supported DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal’s plea that the juvenile convict should not be released till such time he is reformed, Justice Goel said, “You are saying without the law backing you… go first and make the law.”
The above statement must have left a lump in the throat of Swati Maliwal, and shattered the sober hearts of Nirbhaya’s parents. As Nirbhaya’s tery-eyed mother had put a day before, “Aaj jurm ki jeet hui hai, aur aur sacchai ki kaar” (The evils prevailed over the good) .
The judiciary felt sorry for the family, and were quick to put the onus back on the legislation, who just didn’t give them powers to punish such outlaw minors. The order was delivered by the Supreme Court and so presently, there is no way that Afroze’s freedom would be challenged.
Afroze must be thanking his stars that he put a rod inside a poor hapless vagina, ripped out her intestines, all just six months short of his 18th birthday. Those six months were enough for the law to overlook this butchery.
In all probability, Afroze must have been a juvenile when he committed the crime, but I was aghast to read that the court had turned out a request for bone test to determine the age. Those living in the slums have a tendency to mess up on the accuracy of their ages and that of their children. Wonder, what prompted the court to not explore the bone test option? If not anything, it sure would have corroborated Afroze’s school reports.
It’s been three years since the legislation has been mulling a stronger law for crimes against women, and a call to lower the age limit of minor to 16. I wonder by doing so, are we to believe that those 16 under wouldn’t do such heinous crime?
A few backs, school boys aged 14-16 raped a fellow student and even had the dare to film the act to blackmail the victim. Timely action by the victim’s family led to the boys being booked and sent to juvenile holding facility.
This tragic episode is another reminder as to how, the altering of the law is really redundant, in stead, there ought to be harshest of punishment for the offenders irrespective of their age.
The judiciary has passed the buck on the legislation, but can it explain as to why they couldn’t hang the four other adult accused? With this case falling into the rarest of the cases, the four men should have long been hanged, but in stead what we’v have seen is the judiciary staying death sentences of all.
For all our rage, our protests, the truth is that both the houses (Lok and Rajya Sabha) were not unanimous in seeking justice for Nirbhaya. In fact, there were some prominent leaders who didn’t approve hanging of all convicts. The juvenile walking away and the staying of death sentences is a further proof of the fact that how most of our parliament, that comprises of overwhelmingly male population, still don’t view such barbaric rapes as a heinous crime. With the public and the media no longer breathing at their necks, they believe that this issue will be lost with time.
Well, amidst the lack of legislation to alter the juvenile law, there shockingly are laws that not only allows a guilty minor to walk free, but the Delhi Woman and Child Welfare Department proposes Rs.10,000 grant, plus the guilty be taken ‘care’ of, I repeat taken care of by sending him to a rehab care and he’d given a sewing machine so he can work as a a ladies’ tailor. Criminals never masquerade themselves whilst committing crimes, but are masked by the law when they appear in courts.
Ironically, the judiciary feels handicapped whilst meting out punishments, but they seem to have various schemes for the rehabilitation of criminals. All that the victims get is tears and despair, while Rs.10,000, NGO home, and sewing machine is a reward for impaling a vagina.
I’m truly ashamed as an Indian. Needed now is not media activism, but mob justice. Oh Farhan, I’m sure you won’t oppose this.