The Heinous Gangs: The Amy Yates Cases

Decent Essays
The heinous gang rape of December 2012 opened up numerous avenues of debate on topics related criminal laws in India, especially with laws dealing with odious crime like rape. As the country pondered upon issues related to women’s safety and demands poured in for stricter prosecution of rape offenders, a section of social as well as legal lobbyists started pushing in for the amendment of the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act). This came in especially because, allegedly the most gruesome amongst the group of men who attacked Nirbhaya was a juvenile and this act ensured that he would walk out of his detention without having faced the strictest of action, and indeed he did.
Activists demanded that the age of convict who is to be considered a juvenile
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But let us look at the Amy Yates case (2004) which led to the institutionalization of Amy’s Law in the American state of Georgia under which a juvenile, when convicted of murder, can be sentenced to incarceration until 21 years of age. Though the case developed further confusions and accusations later, but the point is that although the definition of a juvenile varies from state to state in the U.S.A., there is a clear distinction that is made between juveniles of different ages; as is the case in France where juveniles are clubbed under the age groups of 0-8, 8-13 and 13-18. Making a similar distinction should prove to be an act of prudence in formulating laws and defining clauses pertaining to the juvenile justice system in India.
Lastly, let us not let the focus to be taken away from the pivotal question in juvenile delinquency, i.e., the question of what led him/ her to commit the crime. Yes, a child has to be treated differently. Nevertheless, addressing the loopholes in the system is pertinent; at present, a school certificate is proof enough of the age of an accused and the rule concerning bail grants maximum leeway possible. There is a need to bring in more stringent measures to ensure greater transparency and expediency in the system; and a further need to implement
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