RESMI: The Juvenile Justice Board on Monday declared that the sixth accused in the gangrape and murder of a para-medical student was a minor and cannot be made to stand trial with the other accused in a regular court.
The brutal assault and rape of the 23-year-old woman by six men on board a bus in south Delhi on Dec.16 had stirred the national conscience with hundreds of thousands of people pouring out into the streets in protest.
Her death at a hospital in Singapore on Dec.30 due to the serious injuries fanned the demands for a quick trial and the maximum possible punishment, the death penalty for all the accused.
However, one of them was stated to be a 17-year-old and was thus sent to a remand home for juveniles.
The trial of the others was on at a fast track city court.
The Juvenile Justice Board, after examining the School Certificate of the accused submitted by the principal of his school, came to the conclusion that he was a minor.
Subsequently, it was accepted by a local court. Sources said the school certificate recorded his date of birth as June 4, 1995.
According to procedure, courts have to accept the certificate as proof unless doubts were expressed about the authenticity of the birth certificate.
In such cases, it can order tests like bone ossification tests and dental records.
Lawyers for the prosecution said they will approach a higher court on the issue.
“All these questions will be raised in a higher court. We will certainly be approaching a higher court,” they said.
In case it is proved that the accused is a minor, he will be sent before the Juvenile Justice Board and the maximum punishment he would receive would be a three-year term in a Correctional facility.
The five other accused have been charged under sections, 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The rape victim and her male companion, who also sustained injuries, waiting for a bus at 9.30pm were lured into the bus, taken by its driver, one of the accused for a joyride with his companions on off duty hours, saying that they would be taken to their destination, Dwarka, for Rs10 each.
However, soon afterwards, they misbehaved with the girl and when the boy objected, beat him up with iron rods.
They used it on the girl too before pushing them out after the rape, robbing them of their money, mobile phones and even clothes.
The girl, with serious injuries, was initially treated at the Safdarjang hospital and then taken to Singapore where she died on Dec.30.
Delhi police managed to trace the bus and the culprits who had taken it on a joyride during the off duty hours of the driver and enticed the couple to board it at Munirka bus stop.