Finally, the bill is passed in Rajya Sabha that juvenile delinquents above age 16 will be treated like adult criminals keeping the severity of their crime in consideration.
Is this amendment a proactive action to lessen the growing rape culture in India?
As a clinical psychologist, I have my doubts about that.
The swiftness, severity, and certainty of punishment are the key elements in understanding a law’s ability to control human behavior.
Any crime should be seen in totality of the crime committed. Not just in the law books. When it is clear, visible, and objective that the crime committed was not the product of a juvenile mind but the product of a mind that is capable of premeditation, then the juvenile justice system must waiver the accused to the adult court.
And rape is one crime, which is ALWAYS PREMEDITATED. People can commit a murder in the spur of a moment, by mistake, but a person can’t commit a rape at the spur of the moment, by mistake. Therefore, the juvenile justice umbrella must be removed from law books in cases of coercive rape.
I don’t propose to lower down the age limit to 16. It doesn’t make any sense. Tomorrow, a boy of 15 years might commit a rape and we will start the whole circus again. My concern is not 18, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, or 2…
For rape, the juvenile justice system of this country must waiver the accused to the adult court.Waiver is the legal transfer of jurisdiction procedure over the juvenile offenders to the adult court for criminal prosecution.
And before the legal system starts the debate of statuary rape verses coercive rape, I want to clarify that here I talk about coercive rape ONLY. Now, if law enforcement agencies of this country tell me that they don’t have means to figure out the difference between coercive rape and statutory rape; then I advice the women of this country to stop paying taxes. Seriously, in that case, at the risk of sounding rude, I will say that the law enforcement systems behave inefficient in one of their core responsibilities, that is to understand the nature of crime.
If a person is adult enough tocommit the rape, the person is adult enough to take the punishment, period.
Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and author of the novel #IAm16ICanRape: The War Against Rape Culture.