Child panel chief against death for juvenile rape accused

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) India's child rights panel chief Shanta Sinha Thursday said she was not in favour of the death sentence being demanded for the juvenile accused in the Delhi gang-rape or for a change in the law.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson also said she was against changing the juvenile law in the wake of the alleged brutality exhibited by the accused.

"I totally disagree on death sentence demanded for the juvenile They have to be treated like juveniles and tried according to the Juvenile Justice Act," she told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

Asked if the Class 3 certificate shown as proof for the juvenile's age was enough, she said: "When there is no universal birth registration in our country, we have to depend on this."

The juvenile, who is alleged to have been the most brutal of the six rapists in the Dec 16 rape, is reported to be six months short of 18 years.

To a question if changes should be incorporated in the Juvenile Justice Act keeping in mind the brutality of the juvenile's act, Sinha said: "No, this case cannot be the basis for any change in law."

She also said she was ready to meet the victim of the Suryanelli gang-rape case in Kerala, which has created a storm in the state after the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of the case in the Kerala High Court.

The 1996 gang-rape case has come into focus again with the woman claiming that among those who exploited her was P.J. Kurien, deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

However, Sinha said she was not in favour of reopening the case.

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