A countrywide debate is still continuing on the various aspects of the heinous sexual crime perpetrated against a 23-year-old girl student in Delhi. One lurking aspect of it is what treatment should be meted out to the teen-aged boy who in the eyes of law is still tender and “immature” while it was he among the six brutes who had been most brutish. The legal position is that he is still “immature”; so the laws meant for adults cannot be applied to him, nor can he be placed in a prison meant for adults. There are separate laws for the immature and homes too are separate for them. The case against him has been registered under this very law. Not only this, when he will turn adult viz. be a man of 18 years after five months, he will be released; for, he had committed the crime in his state of immaturity. And it is this fact that the most brutish would not get any punishment has been worrying the civil society most. Now there are proposals that the age of adulthood should be minimised from the present 18 years to the earlier 16 years. Or that the case of this boy should be taken up as a special case.
“Law does not always deliver justice”
Yes, the Times of India (5 Jan) made an apt headline “Law does not always deliver justice” with regard to this “immature” criminal, and has also raised the questions: whether the age of adulthood should be minimised, or after attaining adulthood he should be punished like adults, or then the punishment for immature criminals should be enhanced from three years to ten or fifteen years. The newspaper has termed the law as erroneous. Naturally, it should be erroneous; for, these laws are man-made; and howsoever man takes pride in his wisdom and insight, he cannot visualise the issues that can confront him in future. When such issues do come to the fore, he starts talking of amendment to the laws and that is it. He does not (and cannot) think more than this. The government had raised the age of attainment of adulthood from 16 years to 18 years only to put a check on child marriage and thus control national population; but other aspects of the issue were not before its experts, nor could they have been. – However this standard of adulthood is ridiculous, very ridiculous indeed. And not only this law, there are many such laws that are erroneous and incomplete.
Who should devise perfect laws?
Legal luminaries have been confessing the laws of the land being erroneous. Declaring the existing laws to deal with sex criminals as insufficient, demands are being made on a large scale to devise stronger laws. But who will guarantee that those (new) laws too would not prove erroneous and insufficient in future; for, new laws will be devised by the same man who had devised the existing laws. So, the question is who should devise the laws that do not require any change or amendment? The answer is clear and straightforward: they should be devised by he who created humans and who is well aware of their wisdom and insight, psychology as well as merits and demerits. And the fact is that He has devised the laws for humans much earlier. These laws were given final and perfect shape one thousand five hundred years ago. The only requirement is to understand them with open mind and heart, and the responsibility of making humans understand these laws rests on those who believe in the existence of the Supreme Being and the laws devised by Him. It is right that in the present situation prevailing in the country such talks by Muslims would not be taken with much attention. But the circumstances are moving slowly towards it in a natural way. In these circumstances even little efforts made by Muslim scholars and intellectuals can help the human mind get a lot of solace.