The controversial reform approved by the Rajya Sabha (upper parliamentary chamber) to harden the sentences to minors between 16 and 18 years of age that commit atrocious crimes in India, tries to fight the increasing youth violence. According to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of minors arrested for different crimes increased constantly in recent years. Only in 2014, the number of those arrested reached 38,565.
Yesterday, the upper chamber approved the reform, amid a discussion in the country, after the the release from prison during the weekend of the youngest rapist of Jyoti Singh, a girl abused in 2012 that died two weeks later as a consequence of the beating she was given.
The accused served three years in a reformatory, the maximum sentence established by law.
According to the changes approved in the Rajya Sabha, the people at the aforementioned ages could be tried as adults if they commit atrocious crimes as rapes or murders.
Women and Gilrs’ Development Minister Maneka Gandhi expressed that youths would not go to prisons for adults, but to reformatories until they become 21 years old, when they would be assessed with the purpose of deciding their release or transfer to common prisons.
However, former Justice Minister Ram Jethmalani rejected the proposal after considering unnecessary to change the legislation in force, due to only one incident.
Left-wing organizations as the Communist Party of India (Marxist), questioned the initiative, condemning the reduction of age to try minors as adults.
However, it was approved by the majority of the parties represented in that legislative authority, including the governing Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Indian National Congress.