- Saturday, 02 February 2013 20:12
- Subramanian Swamy
The juvenile accused of the Delhi rape case is not a petty
unlawful who could be reformed. Instead, he acted like a hardened
criminal who knew what he was doing. Imagine if Ajmal Kasab was a minor:
Would we have handled him with kid gloves?
Centuries ago, a great thinker called Plato had stated what has now become a real-life scenario in India, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”
On the unfortunate evening of December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old girl, a budding physiotherapy student, and her male friend were awaiting a bus at the Munirka bus stand around 9:30 pm. One bus conductor invited the two youngsters to board his private chartered bus on the pretext of dropping them to their destination. Once the girl and her friend boarded the bus, they realised that the conductor was a malicious person who, with four others, started making lewd advances. The male friend tried to intervene but was overpowered and beaten up with an iron rod. The girl kept fighting but was hit hard and fell down.
Thereafter, all heavens fell on the poor girl. On the floor of the speeding bus, the bus conductor and the five others, including the driver, took turns to rape her. But this was not enough for the bus conductor: He raped the victim twice, once while she was unconscious due to the trauma inflicted on her. Then, he inserted an iron rod into her private parts to wrench out her uterus as well as intestines. He explained to his associates that it was necessary for the destruction of evidence. After an hour of this inconceivable savagery, the victim and her male friend were stripped naked and thrown out of the bus into the freezing winter night.
After some delay the victim was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital where multiple surgeries were done to save her life. She fought bravely to live and in great pain conveyed her mother to “never let that conductor escape from law”. But the damage was so severe that even transplants of her organs were of no avail. On December 26, the victim, who displayed indomitable spirit to live against all odds and her determination to punish the guilty, was sent to a Singapore hospital in a comatose state to avail better treatment. But it was already too late by then as the girl breathed her last on December 29, leaving behind a nation whose conscience was totally shaken by the brutality of the incident. Everyone thought if this could happen in the most secured zone of the Capital at a time when Delhi was buzzing with people, then no one was safe in the country.
A WILY CRIMINAL
But the question remains: Why do we need to tell the account which happened one-and-a-half months ago? The story needs reiteration because it tells us that the bus conductor, who now claims to be a minor (below the age of 18 years), is not a petty unlawful who could be reformed; instead, he acted like a hardened criminal who knew what he was doing; he committed the act eagerly and tried to destroy the evidence of his heinous crime.
Also, the fact that the bus conductor acted swiftly to claim his ‘minor-hood’ shows his cold, demented mindset. He himself told the police that he was a juvenile and hence enjoyed special protection and waiver from criminal law. The police at the inspector level were stumped. A hidden hand moved swiftly to make the police “respect the law”, which is codified for delinquents under the age of 18 years in the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and as amended in 2006 and 2010.
Had this 18-year cutoff not been there, the accused would have been prosecuted under Section 83 read with Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and received a minimum punishment of seven years of imprisonment. But the trouble with the laws these days is that criminals know their rights better than their wrongs.
The accused was a few months short of 18 years of age and if we all acquiesce, he would not be prosecuted under IPC but “reformed and rehabilitated” in a homely atmosphere under Sections 2(g), 15 and 16 of the Juvenile Justice Act (2000), under which after a maximum of three years he would be let free. Even Ajmal Kasab, involved in the dastardly 26/11 Mumbai attacks, would have been treated ‘humanely’ had he attacked India when he was a few years younger.
The inspiration for this Act came from the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child 1989, the United Nation Standard Minimum Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules) 1985, and the United Nation Rules for Protection of Children Deprived of their Liberty 1990. India is a signatory of the above mentioned conventions and rules. The Preamble and the statement of objects and reasons of the Act state the same expressly and categorically.
This Act is a piece of “beneficial”, not criminal law, legislation and has been formulated to protect the innocence of our nation’s greatest asset — its children and youth. But in the current case, the extreme malice and depravity with which the accused has allegedly committed the crime shows that it is not the action of a juvenile delinquent who the law supposes to be of tender age and mind and not fully capable of being responsible for his actions, but rather these are actions of the most evil of men for whom this beneficial legislation clearly is not meant.
BETWEEN THE LINES
The question for the nation is: Should we allow the cold print of a law, the Juvenile Justice Act, framed for children committing crimes like pick-pocketing, bicycle theft, etc, be used unthinkingly to benefit, by exempting from prosecution under criminal law, those committing heinous crimes such as rape and murder, which cannot be committed unless the culprit knew what he was doing.
Also, the Act is not in complete consonance with these conventions and rules. The Beijing Rules 4(1) describes the concept of age of “Criminal Responsibility” as for which there are various factors which have to be considered in deciding when and at what age would a juvenile be held criminally responsible for his/her actions. These factors include but are not restricted to moral and psychological development, individual discernment and understanding, seriousness of the offence involved, record and previous history of the juvenile, etc. Furthermore, there is no blanket ban or prohibition in not holding the juvenile accused accountable for his offences.
Article 17.1(c) of the Beijing Rules state that even though endeavour is to be made to avoid incarceration in certain situations/offences, sentence of imprisonment has to be passed not only to punish the offender but also to protect public safety. The UNCRC 1989 and Beijing Rules 1985 recognised that neither there can be any hard-and-fast rule nor can there be a blanket protection solely on age criteria, and in appropriate cases criminal behaviour has to be punished with lengthy imprisonment.
In the United States, the Criminal Justice System recognises the concept of age of Criminal Responsibility and juveniles who are 14 years of age and above and guilty
of grievous crimes are held responsible for the same. They are tried under the Criminal Justice System like an adult. The law in England recognises the fact that knowledge and ability to reason are still developing, but the notion that a 10-year-old (the age of Criminal Responsibility) does not know right from wrong seems contrary to common sense in an age of compulsory education from the age of five, when children seem to develop faster both mentally and physically.
Thus, we need to read into the juvenile age limit of 18 years, the UN Convention ordained caveat, which India has already ratified in 1992 that this age limit is subject to the Beijing Rules 4(1) and ascertainment of the juvenile not being emotionally and intellectually mature to know what he or she was doing is necessary. This has already been incorporated in Rule 3 of the Juvenile Justice Act but surprisingly, because of the Law Ministry’s poor drafting, left out of the Act itself!
Hence, the UPA Government must issue an Ordinance to clarify that a juvenile accused as below 18 years is subject to satisfying Rule 4(1) of the Beijing Rules; otherwise, the juvenile accused will be tried under the IPC. The juvenile accused must be made an example of today to keep our faith in our legal system and to provide justice to the Delhi braveheart.
I conclude with the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “It would conduce to national progress and save a great deal of time and trouble if we cultivated the habit of never supporting the resolutions either by speaking or voting for them if we had not either the intention or the ability to carry them out.”
The writer is a former Union Law & Justice Minister, and acknowledges the research assistance of advocate Supriya Manan
Sunday, 3 February 2013
Paush Krushnapaksha 5, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
By Mr. Arun Ramteerthakar, Senior journalist, Solapur
Last whole week, blabbering of Sushil Kumar Shinde regarding ‘saffron’
terrorism is shaking the whole nation. Everybody is thinking that why
was Shinde, who has insulted 100 crores Hindus, felt so much of affinity
towards an enemy country like Pakistan. With rulers addressing
terrorists with respect and branding patriots as terrorists, it has
become imperative to establish Hindu Nation.
By Mr. Arun Ramteerthakar, Senior journalist, Solapur
‘Chintan (brain-storming)’ and Congress have no connection with each other !The ‘Chintan’ session of Congress was held at Jaipur. When the position of the party is ‘whatever Sonia says, is the rule’, it is ridiculous that the party does any kind of ‘chintan’. Was this ‘chintan’ on the party’s claim of reducing inflation in 100 days or was it on how amusing statements like ‘A person earning Rs. 20/- per day is rich’ were published by the Government; but these were not the topics of ‘chintan’. Keeping 2014 in mind, crowning of Prince (?) Rahul was the main program. Leaving their duties, all Central cabinet ministers went to Jaipur to clap that included even Sushil Kumar Shinde; when file on the issue of whether Jharkhand is to be brought under President’s rule was lying on his table for 2 days; besides file of Afzal’s execution which is on his table for months. Shinde claimed ‘Hamane kahaa aur karake dikhaayaa (we said and we did)’ when Kasab was hanged; but he is mum about Afzal. Barring the period of Antulay as the Chief Minister and ‘RLA’, Shinde has been in power. He should now feel that he has had enough of publicity; but it appears that like Digvijay Singh, he also enjoys making frivolous, senseless and irresponsible statements creating controversies to gain publicity. It is quite surprising though. In Jaipur, Shinde referred to RSS and BJP as terrorists and stated that they held camps to train terrorists. This raises a doubt whether Shinde consumes salt of Solapur or of Karachi because a person, who brands a patriotic organization as terrorist, must be consuming Pakistani salt and being loyal to them.
It was said like saying on an inconsequential platform !Question is very simple. Had Shinde been only a MP, nobody would have given any importance to what he said. As per the opinion of Shiv Sena, he has got the post by singing praises of Sonia Gandhi. If his statement is considered as that of the home Minister of this country, it seems that Shinde does not know what the responsibilities of his department are. The country is hollowed out with terrorism which is nurtured by outsiders as well as insiders; in addition, there is the problem of violence by naxalites. In such situation, a home minister of country should speak about terrorism with so much of responsibility. Earlier, as he used to talk wearing a round cap, in public meetings held at ‘Begum Peth’ or in ‘Paccha Peth’of Solapur, he spoke in the same manner. Till now, he never held the post of Home Minister, either at State level or in the Centre; therefore, he never had to talk about law and order. He used to boast that ‘I brought radio station; college, airport to Solapur; I am responsible for Solapur’s development’. That was different.
…Then why did you become Home Minister of the country ?As a Home Minister, when you point finger at some organization as a terrorist organization; you must be doing so with proofs in hand. In that case, has Sonia Gandhi stopped you from imposing ban on RSS whose name you took with your sinister mouth? You are afraid of hanging Afzal and now if you are afraid of bringing ban on RSS even when you have proof, why have you become Home Minister? Shinde sahib, you only know better how you have been in power all these years, on the basis of your capability or something else. RSS, which you are now branding as RSS, was first banned by Nehru; second time, it was banned by Indira Gandhi whom you used to worship; third time, ban was imposed by Narasimhrao, whose name if you take with respect, you will be ousted from Congress. When Nehru and Indira Gandhi could not eliminate RSS despite imposing ban, is it possible for Sonia and Rahul ?
Are you going to impose ban on RSS or follow the path of Kesari?Kasab died due to dengue. After creating the farce of hanging him and bragging that ‘I did what I said’, now, you said that ‘RSS is terrorist.’ If you have guts, impose ban on RSS for being terrorist. There is no point in telling you to accept your mistake and take back your statement; because you have not made such a statement innocently. It is the ‘Congressman’ in you who has made such statement. Your past President Sitaram Kesari had also called RSS as anti-national in Bhopal. RSS immediately filed a case of defamation when he went on back foot and claimed that he never said such thing. So Shinde sahib, now tell us, are you going to impose ban on RSS or follow the path of Sitaram Kesari? BJP is the second political party in this country and is in power in many States.
It is a tradition of UPA to accuse patriots as anti-nationals !You never talk about imposing ban on ‘Majalis-e-Ittehadul Musleemin’ who had talked about finishing you and 'Brahmin' Rahul Gandhi with rest of Hindus within 15 minutes. You don’t bring ban on Mehbooba Mufti’s ‘People’s Democratic Party’ which is always spitting venom against Army. Forget about ban on ‘Hurriyat Conference’, your Government allows their leaders to go to Pakistan and hatch conspiracy against India. Your love for Pakistan is overwhelming. After beheading of two Indian soldiers, you kept quiet. During your UPA regime, it has become a practice to call patriots as anti-nationals and honour real traitors and therefore, you branded BJP as terrorist.
People won’t be misled by your immaturity !Look at the outcome of Modi being branded as anti-Muslims; but you don’t want to learn anything from it. Dr. Ambedkar threw his resignation at Nehru when he noted procrastination in respect of ‘Hindu Code Bill’, Chintamanrao Deshmukh showed his selflessness when he observed biased behaviour towards united Maharashtra issue and resigned; even Arif Mohammad Khan gave his resignation on the issue of Shah Bano case; but you cannot reach such height. By hovering around the door of ‘10, Janpath’, this is how one’s intellect will work. The statement, however, showed that there is not much difference between intellect of Digvijay Singh and Sushil Kumar Shinde. The sins committed by UPF have now crossed all limits. You may try to divert people’s attention from inflation, gang-rape etc. but you cannot deceive people with your immaturity. People will show you, your right place in 2014 elections.
Source : Daily Sanatan Prabhat
03 February 2013, 05:29 AM IST
A question for the internationally recognised terrorist, ideologue and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack, Hafiz Saeed, resident of Lahore, who has just offered sanctuary in Pakistan to our superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Pakistan was carved out in 1947 to ensure security for this subcontinent's Muslims in a separate homeland. Why, six decades later, has Pakistan become the most insecure place for Muslims in the world? Why are more Muslims being killed each day, on an average, in Pakistan than in the rest of the Muslim world put together?
This continual mass murder is not being done by Hindus and Sikhs, who were once proud residents of Punjab and Sindh but are now merely a near-invisible trace. Some Pakistan leaders even express pride in the fact that non-Muslims , who constituted around 20 per cent of the population in 1947, have been reduced to less than 2 per cent. In contrast, the percentage of Muslims in secular India has increased since independence. Hindus and Sikhs are not killing Muslims in Pakistan; Muslims are murdering Muslims, and on a scale unprecedented in the history of Punjab, the North West Frontier and Sindh. Why?
There have been riots in India, some of them horrendous. But the graph is one of ebb from the peak of 1947. When a riot does occur, as in Maharashtra recently, civil society and media stand up to demand accountability, and the ground pressure of a secular democracy forces even reluctant governments to cooperate in punishment of the guilty. When Shias, or other sectarians, are mass-murdered in Pakistan on a regular basis, the killers celebrate a "duty" well done.
History's paradox is evident: Muslims today are safer in India than in Pakistan. The "muhajirs" who left the cities of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 1947 would have been far safer in Lucknow, Patna and dozens of cities in their original land than they are now in the tense streets and by-lanes of Karachi.
Could Shah Rukh Khan have become an international heart throb if his parents had joined the emigration in 1947? Since he is talented he would have gained some recognition on the fringes of elite society, but he could not have become a central presence of a popular culture that has seeped and spread to every tehsil and village. Nor is Shah Rukh the only Muslim superstar in Mumbai's film world; Salman Khan is bigger than him. Shah Rukh and Salman and Amir Khan do not hide their identity through an alias; their birth name is their public persona.
The television set in my office serves two main purposes: it shows cricket and offers access to an FM radio station which plays old film songs. A song by Muhammad Rafi was on the air while the previous paragraph was being written: Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare. It is a beautiful classic, written by Sahir Ludhianvi. Rafi, as his name confirms, was a Muslim. He was born in 1924 in western Punjab and came to Mumbai as a very young man in search of dreams. Those dreams had not come true by 1947. Rafi had the option of returning to Lahore. He chose to remain in Mumbai, and brought his family in what might be called the reverse direction. It was a wise choice. Mumbai made Rafi's voice immortal. Rafi, like India, was the distillation of many inspirations.
Hafiz Saeed and his ilk possess cramped, virulent minds which condemn the ragas upon which our subcontinent's music, both classic and popular, is based, as inimical. They want to destroy a shared Hindu-Muslim cultural heritage in which Muslim maestros took classical music to splendid heights under the patronage of padishahs, rajahs and nawabs . Instead of art, they possess vitriol, even as the violence they spawn turns Pakistan into a laboratory of chaos. They call themselves guardians of their nation, but they are in fact regressive theocrats who are shredding the Pakistan that Jinnah imagined.
There is an answer to the opening question. Extremists who reduce faith to a fortress do not understand a simple truth: faith cannot be partitioned. Islam was a revelation for mankind; it cannot be usurped by a minor tract of geography. Nations are created by and for men, within boundaries of language or culture or tribe. Religion comes from God; it is not a political tool for human ambition. Those who equate religion with nation distort the first and destroy the second. Pakistan has become a battlefield for dysfunctional forces because theocrats will not permit it to become a rational state.
Logic suggests a reciprocal offer: Pakistani Muslims would be safer in India. But that offer cannot extend to Hafiz Saeed. His mission is to be India's adversary. What he does not understand is that he is really Pakistan's enemy.