Delhi court questions 'doublespeak' on juveniles

Court

Pointing out that the principle needs to be "even handed", the judge said an accused cannot be given the benefit on the ground that a victim is an educated city girl and is capable of thinking and acting on her own when it is also held that a juvenile accused, equally educated and informed, would not be capable of thinking for himself and acting on his own merely because he is a few days or months less than turning 18.

The judge also referred to the personal laws where the age of puberty is considered to be the age of marriage. It implies that there is a "social and religious acceptance of the age of puberty to be the age of sexual maturity", the ASJ said. The judge said while she was personally in favour of carving out of exception in such cases, it was a call to be taken by the legislature and the constitutional courts.

In the case in hand, the court went by the strict mandate of the law and sentenced the man to seven years in jail on the charges of kidnapping and raping a girl aged around 15 years.

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