India court convicts teenagers over Mumbai gang-rapes

Two 17-year-olds found guilty - one over gang-rape of photographer and another over gang-rape of telephone operator.


Afp July 15, 2014

MUMBAI: A Mumbai court convicted two teenage boys Tuesday over separate gang-rapes that shocked the city in a verdict that came days after an Indian minister said juvenile suspects should be treated as adults in rape cases.

Two 17-year-olds were found guilty - one over the gang-rape of a photographer and another over the gang-rape of a telephone operator in the same abandoned mill compound in the city last year, public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told AFP.

He said the pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, would be sent to a reform institution in Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, for three years.

"They should keep good behaviour and vocational guidance will be given to them," Nikam added.

Three men were in April ordered to hang for their involvement in both the gang-rape cases, the first death sentences to be handed down for multiple sex attacks since the law was toughened last year.

Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development in Narendra Modi's new right-wing government, said on Sunday that juveniles accused of rape should be treated on a par with adults.

"For premeditated murder, rape, if we bring them into the purview of the adult world, then it will scare them," she told reporters in the southern city of Chennai.

A series of mass protests over the levels of sexual violence in India, sparked by the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi late in 2012, prompted the government to amend the law and allow the death penalty for repeat rape offenders.

In the Delhi gang-rape case, the role played by a 17-year-old sparked a debate about whether under-18s convicted of serious crimes should be subject to harsher punishments.

A fourth man has been jailed for life over the telephone operator's rape and a fifth over the photographer's, which shook Mumbai as a city that had long been considered safer for women than the capital.

The 22-year-old photographer was attacked while on assignment with a male colleague in the overgrown mill compound, close to an upscale neighbourhood as well as slums from which most of the rapists hailed.

The phone operator, attacked in the same place, came forward after reading about the photographer's ordeal.

COMMENTS (5)

Gp65 | 7 years ago | Reply

@Raj - USA: @Moiz Omar: The law does not permit it. So at the time of sentencing, judges cannot do more than what the law permits. Moreover punishment should not be based on how much a case is played out in the media. Death penalty is reserved in India for the most severe crimes. Even though it is possible for rape in case of adults, it will not be applied in all cases but only in the most gruesome ases. In fact there was a discussion that instituting a death penalty would provide a perverse incentive for the rapist to murer the victim so that she would not complain about them. As such personally, I do not even support death penalty for any one for any crime because there can be errors and death penalty is irreversible. In US yoday, people are being freed based on better scientific evidence who were convicted for life in 60s and 70s. I do not put the Indian system past such errors where police under pressure to find criminals may perhaps catch someone who was not guilty. I am not saying it happens all the time. But even if it happens any time death penalty is irreversible.

@Bourbon: By that lgic there should be no different penalties for minors for ANY crime because of you are old enough to do the crome, you should be old enough to do the time. Yet the world over, punishment for minors is never the same for any crime. Even in India for other crimes, thee is a different penalty for minors than adults.

@Stranger: Not sure what you are conerned about. When the law was updated, there was a lot of debate about. Whether there should be t he same penalty for minors or not. The laws from many advanced countries were seen and finally a decision was made that punishment would be different for minors. Even the death penalty for rape was only for the most gruesome cases.

During sentencing judges cannot give a stiffer punishment than what the law provides.

Bourbon | 7 years ago | Reply

As if you're old enough to rape, you're old enough to pay for the crime.

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