ASIA/INDIA - Rape and murder of the 23 year-old Indian girl: the accused, who is a minor, soon free

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - One of the six accused in the rape and murder of the 23 year-old Indian girl, who a month ago shook the whole world, is a minor: it was established by the juvenile court in Delhi. This, according to the Indian legal practice, would allow him to be released in a few months. The age of the accused, described by the police in Delhi as the most brutal of the six accused, was declared to be "17 years old, six months and 24 days", as established by the birth certificate. The Indian law states that a minor between the ages of 16 and 18, in case of conviction for an offense may be convicted and sent to a reformatory for three years at most, and then released on probation. However, the law also says that a minor may be detained in such rehabilitative facilities only until he reaches 18 years of age and that, subsequently, cannot be re-tried, sentenced or imprisoned.
According to this rule, therefore, the young man will have to serve a few months of pain and then will be released as soon as he reaches legal age, next 4 June.
Fr. Nithiya Sagayam, OFM Cap, Director of the "Franciscan Peace Centre" in Tamil Nadu, and the Executive Secretary of the Office for Human Development of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) comments to Fides Agency: "If the young man has committed such serious crimes, such as rape and murder, how can releasing him be the solution? This is a serious problem for the country, that has to be dealt with urgently, because it affects legality and impunity. It is urgent to ask oneself: who can be considered a minor? A boy who rapes and kills can be considered as such? The young man in question has a clear civil and criminal liability." The other issue, notes Fr. Sagayam, is that "minors in India are exposed to a culture, inflicted by the media, that promotes violence and sex: this does not protect their mental and physical development and increases the spread of crime in society." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 29/01/2013)