Dikshit backs demand for lowering juveline age limit

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 20:23 hrs

New Delhi: Amid a demand for lowering the juvenile age limit in the wake of the Delhi gangrape case, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today gave her support, saying the nature of the crime should not be overlooked while deciding on the age issue.

"If you match the nature of the crime with the age of the person with being juvenile and non-juvenile, then I think that evaluation could perhaps help in (deciding the issue)," Dikshit said.

The Juvenile Justice Board earlier this week had declared the sixth accused in the December 16 Delhi gangrape case as minor, triggering demand for lowering the age ceiling for juveniles from 18 years to 16. The accused was stated to be the most brutal of the accused by Delhi Police in its charge sheet.

The Chief Minister, referring to demand of the family of the gangrape victim to lower the age limit for defining a juvenile, wondered whether it would be proper to forgive him for being a juvenile delinquent.

"The parents are demanding (punishment for the accused). Why they are saying because he was the most aggresive of all those people involved in the crime. Do we consider his being a juvenile as an excuse to forgive him. What he did would perhaps any adult would not do," Dikshit told PTI.

The ruling by the Juvenile Justice Board could enable the sixth accused to walk free by June 4 this year when he attains the age of 18 years.

The family of the gang-rape victim had expressed unhappiness over the decision of the board and said that they would challenge it in the court so that the accused get death penalty.

"The family is not ready to accept that the sixth accused get anything less than death penalty," the brother of the girl said.

Dikshit said government will have to take a decision on the issue after carefully examining various aspects to it.

"There is an argument which says if a juvenile can commit such a crime then is he juvenile. The other argument is that a juvenile is considered innocent as he may not be knowing what he is doing," the Chief Minister said.

Union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar has said Government was considering all available options and would take a considered view at the earliest.

Delhi Police was exploring legal opinion to go for an appeal in the Delhi High Court on the ruling of the Juvenile Justice Board.

The Justice Verma committee was not in favour of the demand to lower the juvenile age limit from 18 years to 16.

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