Pradyumna’s murder case has sent shockwaves that reverberated through the nation. The police have been doing their best to find the murderer. First, they arrested the van on the suspicion of having sexually assaulted and murdered Pradyumna. Having found out that they were wrong, the embarrassed city police were moved aside, and the CBI was brought in. The CBI has now put an entirely new twist on the murder case – they have established that a ninth-class student of the same school, hoping for the postponement of an exam, decided to kill a fellow student and six-year old Pradyumna became that student’s victim. The accused has now been sent to a Juvenile home.
The irony is that having murdered an innocent child for his own gains, the perpetrator of the crime is safe in the home for now. Only because he is a minor, the heinousness of his crime is reduced. The question to be pondered upon is, if a person can exhibit such violent tendencies even before he turns sixteen, how can he remain unpunished. Pradyumna’s family members are threatening a legal battle until the accused is served capital punishment. Unfortunately, this seems an implausible situation as our juvenile justice laws will not permit this to happen, as our existing laws provide no scope at all for a minor to get capital punishment.
Our juvenile justice laws can be summarized as follows – no matter how heinous the crime, a minor can only be sentenced to life imprisonment at the maximum. We can ensure that he stays in jail for the rest of his life, but we cannot impose capital punishment. This means that Pradyumna’s killer cannot be hanged.
The accused minor in the infamous Nirbhaya case has gotten away scot-free after his stint in the Juvenile home. The Supreme Court had granted bail to him citing the laws that they could not hold him in the juvenile home for more than 3 years. A petition challenging his bail filed by the National Commission for Woman also could not change this decision. Tomorrow, we should not be too surprised if Pradyumna’s murderer, too, walks among us with his head held high.
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