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Rape cases involving juveniles as percentage of total rapes in the country has gone down from 4.7% in 2012 to 4.1% in 2013. It is only when a comparison is made between the actual or absolute figures for these two years that we see an increase in the number of cases of rapes involving juveniles (1884 in 2013 as against 1175 in 2012). Also, these figures reflect allegation and not conviction or proven rapes by juveniles.
Young people the world over are easily impressionable and tend to follow what they see around them and actions of adults around them. As a society we are only churning out more violence and a lot of which is sexual violence. While this does not justify any crime, it does certainly call for a special justice system for all juveniles, which is different from the adult criminal justice system.
In addition to being in a highly impressionable age, exposure to sexually explicit material without any guidance and absence of adequate support systems when needed should also be considered before any decision is made to subject juveniles to the adult criminal justice system
There is no data available on recidivism among juveniles when it comes to sexual offences like rape. But HAQ’s experience on ground tells us that we haven’t in the last six years come across a juvenile who has been caught for the crime of rape twice.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) recently uploaded The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2014 on its website and invited comments from Civil Society Organisations, Non- Governmental Organisation and Individuals.
The following are the submisions made to the MWCD by Civil Society Organisations, Non- governmental Organisation, Individuals and Coalitions/ Networks –