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Delhi Gang Rape: There's no justice as lawmakers are yet to wake up and work for the people
December 16, 2012, the day when horrific Nirbhaya incident happened, shocked the nation. Because India does not permit a rape victim's name to be published, the victim of this brutal assault and gang rape was called 'Nirbhaya', which means fearless, because of her efforts to fight off her rapists and her insistence on making a detailed statement to the police before she died.

Her real name was Jyoti Singh as revealed later by the victim's parents so as to serve as a reminder to the brutal atrocities committed against women.

Women are subjected to such atrocities time and again, but this particular case drew the nation to the streets with protests that compelled the government to take fast track action to catch the culprits and subject them to the law of the land. Such protest was unprecedented in the history.

Director and producer Leslee Udwin, who made a documentary on this incident titled 'India's Daughter' said, "Courageous and impassioned ordinary men and women of India braved the December freeze to protest in unprecedented numbers, withstanding an onslaught of teargas shells, lathi charge and water cannons, to make their cry of 'enough is enough' heard. In this regard, India led the world by example. In my lifetime, I can't recall any other country standing up with such commitment and determination for women's rights".

Forced by such national level protests, the police apprehended all the six within 24 hours. One of the culprits died while in jail (some say suicide, some say murder) and four others got death penalty, which is still to be executed as they appealed in the Supreme Court.

For the last week, the media is full of news concerning the 6th culprit who was a juvenile at the time of crime and hence got Juvenile justice Board to decide his case.

The minor, who was described as the most brutal of the six accused by the Delhi Police in its charge sheet, was declared as 17 years and six months and some days old by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) at the time of the crime, which relied on his birth certificate and school documents produced before it which stated his date of birth as 4 June 1995.

The JJB also rejected the police's plea for bone ossification test of the accused for determining his age. God only knows why the JJB rejected this. The crime he committed was far beyond his age and the JJB should have taken into consideration the bone ossification test.

Section 15 (g) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act mandates that a juvenile aged between 16-18 years if convicted of any offence can be sent to a special correctional home for a period of three years at the maximum, and, thereafter, be released on probation.

In the Delhi gang rape case exactly the same happened thing happened when the juvenile convict walked free on 20th December 2015 amid continued protest by the victim's parents after spending three years on the special home and sent to an NGO at an undisclosed destination with police no longer guarding him.

The law has taken its course, it seems. Why then there is hue and cry when this juvenile was released as per the provisions of the law governing our country? The law never works in retrospect. Even if the law changes tomorrow, the juvenile convict will still walk free.

The victim's parents, knew that their demand of stopping the release of the juvenile could not be fulfilled, but the effort was to save millions of other women from Nirbhaya like atrocities.

Seeing the protests, the Delhi Commission for Women, got up from their hibernation to file a review petition with the Supreme Court at the eleventh hour on the night of Saturday 19th December 2015.

'There is no material to establish that the mental state of the respondent has been reformed. His behavior and attitude in the special home continues to have criminal and perverse bent of mind which poses a serious threat to women. Thus releasing the said respondent without even calling for an assessment of his mental state may be extremely dangerous to the society'. DCW had written in its petition.

The Supreme Court did not see any merit of urgent hearing and scheduled it on 21st December 2015 for the hearing. The Apex court on Monday rejected the petition against the release of the juvenile, saying it "shared" the concern of general citizens' but its hands were "tied" by the law.

"We share your concern but our hands are tied by the existing law. There has to be clear legislative sanction to extend the detention period beyond 3 years. Under the present law, detention cannot be extended beyond three years," the top court reportedly said.

Fair enough. The court is to mete out justice based on the law of the land, but the courts don't make the laws. There have been unconfirmed reports that the juvenile convict was brain washed by anti-nationalists and Islamic terror outfits, but it seems it does not have any effect. Legislative sanction is pending at the Rajya Sabha for a good number of months.

"We were not very hopeful that the Supreme Court will give a favourable verdict but I want to ask how many Nirbhayas are needed for the laws to change in the country," the victim's father Badri Singh told reporters. "This fight is not just about Nirbhaya but for every girl who is unsafe in a country which has such laws," he added.

The victim's mother, Asha Devi, said she would fight till the law is changed. "The court mentions that the law does not permit further punishment for the juvenile but why other convicts are not hanged so far?" she asked.

There has been a steep rise in the juvenile cases connected with murder, rape, kidnapping etc. Most of such juveniles fall under the age group of 16-18. Experienced criminals use the minors falling under this age group to carry on heinous crimes taking the advantage of the law.

The bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act remains stuck in the Rajya Sabha. The proposed amendment bill seeks stringent punishment for children aged 16-18 years involved in heinous crimes.

Do politicians really care for the nation? They can only disrupt the Parliament for their own nefarious agenda, but they can't sit together and spend some time in passing a bill that will prevent atrocities against women. Should we wait for another incident involving dear and near ones of the politicians to go through Nirbhaya like atrocities so that they would act?

It remains to be seen whether the government and opposition parties have taken any cognizance of the recent protests. The immediate way forward is to break the logjam in Rajya Sabha and pass the amendment bill to the Juvenile Justice Act that prescribes stringent punishment for 16-18 age group children committing heinous crimes.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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