As many as 1,614 rapes and 1,456 other sexual assaults were committed by juveniles in the country in 2017, reveal the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Over 40,000 juveniles were caught across the country in 2017 for their alleged involvement in various offences, with 72 per cent of them belonging to the age group from 16 to 18 years.
There were 1,614 cases of rape against juveniles in 2017, 1,456 cases of assault on women with intent to outrage their modesty and 46 cases of attempt to rape, among others, the NCRB said.
The government had in 2015 passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which provides for the trial of juveniles in the age group of 16 to 18 years as adult if involved in heinous offences.
The law was amended following intense protests in the wake of the 2016 Nirbhaya gangrape in Delhi in which one of the accused was a few months short of turning 18.
There were 33,606 cases registered and 40,420 juveniles apprehended altogether during the year, up from 35,849 in 2016 and 33,433 in 2015, stated the government data, released last night after a delay of more than one year.
"Majority of juveniles in conflict with law apprehended under IPC (Indian Penal Code) and SLL (Special and Local Laws) crimes were in the age group of 16 years to 18 years. These cases accounted for 29,194 out of 40,420, totalling 72.2 per cent cases during 2017," the NCRB said.
Among all states, Madhya Pradesh alone accounted for 19.3 per cent of all juvenile offenders' cases as 6,491 FIRs registered in the state in 2017. In 2016 it had 7,369 cases, while 6,583 in 2015, the data stated.
With 6,026 cases, Maharashtra accounted for 17.9 per cent of these cases in 2017, down from 6,606 in 2016 and up from 5,693 in 2015.
Delhi stood third on the list with an 8.8 per cent share in overall juvenile crimes in the country.
The national capital registered 2,965 cases in 2017, an upward trend from 2016 when it lodged 2,499 cases and 2015 when it filed 2,366 FIRs, according to the data.
The NCRB, under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code and special and local laws in the country.