The Perfect Murder

This was not really an unusual happening- a fifteen year-old riding his father’s motorcycle. But what later happened was not so usual.

On January 3, “a 15-year-old son of a carpenter took his father’s bike for an early morning joyride and allegedly knocked down Moti Jhangiani at Linking Road. Jhangiani later succumbed to his injuries.”

“The boy had been charged under IPC Section 304 A (rash and negligent driving). He was arrested and released on bail by a court. The court imposed a fine of Rs 2,500 on his father under the Motor Vehicles Act for allowing his minor son to drive.”

Now I do not know whether the boy in this particular case can be prosecuted and sentenced as an adult. But I know of a few similar cases where the boys, being underage, were not sentenced to prison but sent to a remand home and then let out after a couple of years.

This particular case was deemed newsworthy because Aamir Khan, the Bollywood actor, was a witness to the incident.

Perhaps he can produce a movie on this theme. He could call it- “The Perfect Murder”.

The plot would have a young boy- perhaps ten or twelve years old- sent out on a motorcycle. He would knock the intended victim down. The owner of the bike- “the mastermind” would get off with a Rs. 2,500/- fine. And the boy could not be sent to prison because of his young age. The perfect murder!

We hear so much lately about taking responsibility for our actions. Who will take the responsibility in such cases?

The father invariably says that the son took the keys to the bike or the car without his knowledge. But I know some parents who delight in boasting how their ten or eleven year- old offspring can drive a car. They themselves encourage this sort of behaviour.

If a motorcycle can kill a person then it should be considered as dangerous as any weapon, and handled only by a person with a driving license. And the keys kept in a safe place.

If a crime is committed there has to be some punishment. Rehabilitation of the offender is one reason- to make him realize what he has done wrong, so he will not do it again.

Punishment is also necessary so the victim may get a sense of closure. Here the victim has unfortunately died, but if the wrongdoer is punished, his family will feel that justice has been done.

I like the idea of doing community service, as is the practice in the U.S. Perhaps it can be implemented here also?

There is usually no follow-up of such stories in the newspapers. They just seem to fade away after a few days. Since Aamir Khan is a witness in this story, perhaps we will get to know how it ends.

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24 thoughts on “The Perfect Murder”

  1. as per the law all those under 18 are considered to be children. the IPC doesnt apply to them, the juvenile justice act does. so i cant figure out how he was charged under the IPC. thats actually unlawful!!community service is a good idea… i like it…but i think it will tk a while before it makes an appearance here.mandira

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  2. a thought provoking post manju!!till now, i really was under impression that if v r responsible for our actions, things would get better but i just realised, like any other bulk thing, this also carries a lot of ifs and buts!ram jaane!

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  3. Hey you are giving ideas for making films..hope it is not used in real life by someone..well coming to the point, the whole idea of punishing the parent for the crime done by his is absurd..well it is not a gun to be kept safe..it was just a bike key..the person to be punished is, the one who taught him to ride…

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  4. Gopinathji- Yes, I think community service would work in the case of young offenders, but it would probably have to be decided on a case-to-case basis.Mandira- I was surprised, too, that the boy was booked under the Penal Code. Maybe the reporter got it wrong. I have always heard of such juvenile offenders being sent to remand homes.

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  5. Sahaja- Life is full of ifs and buts! :)Sunder- Re: punishing the parents- I do not mean that the parents should be punished as harshly as if they had committed the crime themselves.But I do think that the punishment should be something more than a fine of Rs.2,500/-!

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  6. A thought provoking post. And i like the idea that it could have been a perfect murder. Infact, this is absolute recipe for murders and bump offs. And you are very right. We get to see it, only because of Amir Khan. And it remains to be seen, how long it will stay in our memories !! 🙂

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  7. Manju, the way you have put it, someone might just plan a murder in this manner…terrorists are already beginning to use minors as human bombs.I must confess that I have driven as a minor, and I know others who have done so too. Fortunately, none of those I know killed anyone accidentally. I know, parents should not allow these things but I also know that sometimes it is not easy for a parent to bottle the enthusiasm of an excited child.Frankly, my views on the subject are somewhat hazy…your proposal for community service seems very sensible.

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  8. @It is shocking isn’t it? People definitely need to take up responsibility of their actions.. I agree with your point about community service.. It will be esp helpful in case of juvenile crimes.. As for the parents taking responsibility- you are so right.. People are indeed ‘proud’ that their young sons are so ‘smart’! I think it starts early about re-inforcing right and wrong behaviour. I have seen so many parents who are very proud that their toddler(who has not even started walking!) breaks their laptops. I think kids who are encouraged in this manner are tomorrow’s juvenile offenders! Parents definitely need to take responsibility for their children’s actions.

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  9. Kavi- This was in the newspaper today because today the police recorded Aamir Khan’s statement.But at least we got to hear about this because of him!Vinodji- Everyone breaks the law sometime or the other- I suppose it is human nature. There are also many thing children do that are potentially dangerous- like swimming in a river in the monsoon season.But looking away a couple of times when the child does something like this is one thing, and justifying that it is right to do it is another. Or at least I think so.Maybe if a child feels that he is allowed to do something as a special case, he may be more careful?

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  10. Smitha- I agree that children should not encouraged to do such things. Even very young children can pick up their parents’ attitude toward different types of behaviour.

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  11. Human life it seems, has little value in India. With tonnes of accident cases, the already laggard judicial system is just bothered in clearing out these cases and not metting out the right kind of punishments!

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  12. Rakesh- Welcome!Yes, our Judicial system is very overburdened.So it is unable to deal with such cases of juvenile delinquency, which really should be decided on a case to case basis.

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  13. L.V.S.- Yes, such a small amount as a fine does seem like a joke.Some punishment has to be given. At the same time it has to be remembered that these boys are juveniles. The punishment has to take this into account.The more I think about it, the more community service seems the best option.

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  14. I second you in community service and the punishment given.. but the boy must also punished else he may not know the how value a life is.. and this is a wonderful post as many will consider this as a very small issue..And those damn media doesn’t have time to cover these things as they have to run behind those so called celebrities 😦

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  15. LVS- Yes, I agree with the Delhi proposal of punishment for parents. Implementation will probably not be easy, though.Just imagine, trying to decide the sentence by quantifying the degree of carelessness of the parents!Kanagu- Welcome!Yes, the boy offender should learn the value of a life through the punishment.

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  16. Manju, the boy’s parents should be punished and the punishment should be harsher than if they had committed the crime themselves. Kids as young as 13 or 14 driving cars is not a very uncommon sight here in Delhi. In most cases they get away with the crime even after hitting innocent people due to their parent’s influence. It is the responsibility of the parents to see that their children are not a threat to the society otherwise we will have many more Manu Sharmas and Vikas Yadavs.

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  17. Prerna- From what I have heard, the situation in Delhi seems to be worse than in Mumbai. I can understand your opinion that the parents should be punished harshly. Has the Delhi proposal to punish parents that L.V.S. mentioned, been accepted?

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  18. Most all my children’s friends were driving when they were underage. I had to explain our (parents’) stand to both of them at different times. It just won’t do! We also spoke to them about the reality and what could happen and the consequences. Though they grumbled, they did not insist. In fact it is friends (my own!!) who were sort of aghast. ‘You mean you stick to such rules??’ some of them asked me. Now tell me what do you do with such grown ups??!!!I am in favor of community service. I think that’s an excellent idea if implemented properly. By that I mean the rich should not be able to bribe their way through it, nor those who have influential friends slip through it’s net.

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