Nitish favours reducing age of juvenile to 16

CM Nitish Kumar suggested change in laws against crimes like rape with provision of speedy trial and favoured reducing juvenile age from 18 to 16 years.

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday suggested change in laws against heinous crimes like rape with provision of speedy trial and favoured reducing juvenile age from 18 to 16 years in view of the spate of crimes being committed by youngsters.

"People held on charge of rape should be meted out stringent punishment through speedy trial to instil fear among them," Kumar told reporters emerging from `Janata Ke Darbar me Mukhya Mantri" programme.

He said Bihar had successfully tested speedy trial in several cases including the one involving a foreigner rape victim. In that case judicial proceedings were completed in less than two months and culprits handed out punishment.

Kumar also favoured reducing the age of juvenile offenders to 16 from 18 at present in view of increasing number of crimes committed by youngsters.

"It`s a serious issue which needs to be revisited in view of increase in crimes being committed by youngsters nowadays," he said.

One of the accused in the Delhi gang-rape case turned out to be a juvenile for whom the maximum punishment would be three years of confinement in remand home.

On comments of the MNS leader Raj Thackeray, Kumar said, "He indulges in politics of hatred against people of Bihar to keep himself in news."

He strongly disagreed with opinions that women should dress properly to stave off anti-socials.

"Why can`t male change their dress...How can you issue diktat to half the population of the country what to wear and what not to wear," he said.

The Chief Minister said, "If age of voting can be reduced from 21 to 18, why can`t we lower the age of juvenile from 18 to 16."

Dismissing opinions on women dress code as "rubbish talks", he said the problem was in the mental make-up of people indulging in heinous crimes like rape.

"We need to change the mindset through social movement like the one happening in the wake of the Delhi gang-rape incident," he said.

Kumar said his government had taken several steps for empowerment of women and their safety before the issue hit the headlines after Delhi gang-rape on December 16 last.

"There is one women police station in all 40 police districts in the state," he said.