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Delhi gangrape: Verdict on juvenile deferred again

August 19, 2013 12:55 IST

The judgment in the December 16 gangrape case involving a minor was on Monday again deferred till August 31 by the Juvenile Justice Board.

The JJB, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, postponed the verdict on the ground that the Supreme Court is to pronounce its order on the maintainability of a PIL seeking fresh interpretation of the term 'juvenile' in the statute.

The police, after attending today's proceedings, told the media outside the JJB that the verdict has been deferred till August 31, as the apex court has reserved its order on the maintainability of the PIL.

This is the fourth time that the pronouncement of verdict has been deferred by the Board since July 11.

The Supreme Court had on August 14 reserved it order on the maintainability of a PIL filed by former Member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy for a fresh interpretation of the term 'juvenile'.

Referring to a provision of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, Swamy has said it was "badly" drafted and needs to be revisited, as it was in violation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child and Beijing Rules on the issue.

He has said the "mental and intellectual maturity" of minor offenders be considered instead of the age limit of 18 years while fixing their culpability.

Swamy had also cited the alleged role of the juvenile in the December 16 gangrape case.

The juvenile was one of the six people who had allegedly gangraped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in Delhi. The victim died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.

Of the other five accused, four -- Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur -- are facing trial before a fast track court. Proceedings against key accused Ram Singh abated after his death on March 11 when he was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail.

The inquiry against the juvenile in the gangrape and robbery case had concluded on July 5 and the Board had reserved its judgement for July 11.

Since then, the Board's verdict has been deferred four times, once on July 11, then on July 25, August 5 and today (August 19).

The police has in its charge-sheet said the juvenile was the most brutal of all the accused.

But during the inquiry before the JJB, the juvenile claimed he was innocent.

A native of Uttar Pradesh, the minor had moved to Delhi at the age of 11. He has been convicted for robbing a carpenter, Ramadhar, with the adult co-accused by luring him into the same bus in which the girl was later gangraped and assaulted.

He has been held guilty under sections 395 (dacoity), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity) of the IPC.

The carpenter had identified the juvenile as one of the accused on board the bus.

The minor, however, was acquitted under Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) of the Indian Penal Code.

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