The sixth accused in the Delhi [ Images ] gang-rape case has been declared as a juvenile.
The Juvenile Justice Board, which was looking into the issue, stated that there is no doubt that the accused rapist’s date of birth was June 4, 1995, as per his school records.
A demand to conduct a bone ossification test on the accused rapist, to determine whether he is a minor, has been rejected by the board.
The maximum punishment for a juvenile under law is three-year imprisonment in a remand home.
According to the police charge-sheet, the juvenile accused was the most brutal of the six men who raped a 23-year-old student in a moving Delhi bus on the night of December 16.
The girl, who was taken to Singapore for further treatment, succumbed to her injuries on December 29.
There has been an immense demand to amend the law that terms any accused below the age of 18 as a juvenile offender.
Section 15 (G) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act mandates that a juvenile aged between 16-18 years, if convicted of any offence, can be sentenced to be sent to a special home for a period of three years at the maximum, and, thereafter, be released on probation.
Section 16 of the Act also provides that a juvenile can only be kept at the special home till he turns 18 and he cannot be sent to jail thereafter, which in effect will result in his release.
Lawyers appearing for the prosecution said they will appeal against the JJB’s order in a higher court.
Earlier, on January 15, the principal of the school, from where the juvenile had dropped out, had submitted before the JJB that as per the school records, he is 17 years and six months old.
The present and the former headmasters of the school, in Bhawanipur at Badaun in Uttar Pradesh [ Images ], where the juvenile had studied till Class III, had appeared before the Board. They said they could not identify the boy but knew that he took admission in the school in 2002.
The former principal said that during the time of admission, the boy's father had come to admit him and mentioned his date of birth as June 4, 1995.
The five other accused -- Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur -- have been charged with the offences of murder, gang rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting while committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the IPC.
The juvenile is the eldest son of a mentally challenged father. His mother relied on farming to raise his two brothers and two sisters in a small hamlet at Badaun.
The investigators had said that around five to six years ago, he fled from his home and came to Delhi, where he did small jobs till he met Ram Singh, who was the driver of the bus.
The police sources had said that on the fateful night, all the accused had partied and had then gone on a joy ride in the bus.
They had first robbed Ramadhar Singh, who they had picked up from R K Puram Sector 4, and then dumped him near IIT gate. And from Munirka, they had picked up the gang rape victim and her male friend and dumped them on the road assuming they were dead, according to sources.