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.