'Juvenile delinquents' cases need personal attention'

'Juvenile delinquents' cases need personal attention'

It is consensual sex half the times when juveniles are booked for rapes. So each delinquent’s case should be dealt as an individual matter requiring personal attention, according to an NGO.

Vidya Reddy, director of the NGO Tulir, said juveniles being tried for rape should be tried looking at the “context” of the case.

She also compared the National Crime Records Bureau statistics 2015 for juveniles in conflict with law, where juveniles booked for rape (other than custodial) are 1,841 and kidnapping and abduction of women to compel her for marriage is 732.

“Parents of girls many a times get the boys booked for both kidnapping and rape as they don’t want to admit that their girl child can be involved in a mutual relationship,” said Reddy. Sometimes matters are also of elopement.

The fault is also in the societal norms where sex is considered as bad as rape, according to her. She said her NGO has done grassroot-level research on the matter.

“We talked to police officers who admit that most often the parents want to register a rape case on the boy if they find out that their daughter has been involved with him,” she said.

Tulir, a Chennai-based non-government organisation, has been working for children who faced sexual abuse and also children who commit sexual abuse for more than a decade. Reddy says that after the release of the Juvenile Justice Bill, juveniles cannot be termed as sex offenders because the term carries with it a weight which probably the offender may not even understand.

Sexually abusive

“Sixteen was taken as the age after which juveniles can be arrested for rape in JJB, so that others who are sexually abusive will come under other laws,” she said.

According to Indian Penal Code only husband cannot rape his wife who is below 15. If she is above 15 there is no law which admits to marital rape. On the other hand, if one is 17 and half and has consensual sex, one can be charged with rape? Therefore, the law is based only on marriage and no marriage? she said.

“One can own criminal responsibility but cannot be accused of rape in cases where the victim has been kidnapped with the purpose of marriage,” said Reddy.

According to study conducted by Tulir, there are three main characteristic features of juvenile rape crimes depending on sexual behaviour – sexually aggressive behaviour, harmful behaviour and inappropriate behaviour – punishment should be given accordingly, said Reddy.

In India people don’t recognise sexual problem as a problem and that it can be healed, she said.

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