Juvenile sentencing in gang-rape adjourned till Aug 5

Juvenile sentencing in gang-rape adjourned till Aug 5

A Delhi Juvenile Justice Board on Thursday adjourned its order on the juvenile accused in the December 16 gang-rape and murder case and his sentencing in a robbery case until August 5.

On July 11, the JJB had passed a judgment on the juvenile accused in the case of robbing a carpenter on December 16 last year. The JJB had held the juvenile guilty in the case and was to sentence him on Thursday. Likewise, on Thursday the board was to also pass the verdict on the juvenile accused’s involvement in the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman. Murder charges were added in the case after the woman died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.

Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, who is presiding over the JJB, however, adjourned the sentencing to August 5. The matter was postponed following an affidavit filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy. 

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear Swamy’s plea on July 31 for a fresh interpretation of the term “juvenile”, which he had made  in the wake of the December 16 gang-rape and murder case.

Swamy in his petition said the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act interprets juvenile as a person below 18 years of age. He added that this was in violation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Beijing Rules.

He claimed that the UNCRC and Beijing Rules say the presumption of "the age of criminal responsibility" be fixed while "bearing in mind the mental and intellectual maturity" of the offender.

Swamy had told the Supreme Court that his plea asking to consider the “mental and intellectual maturity” instead of the age limit of 18 years for offenders like the juvenile accused would be infructuous, if the JJB pronounces its verdict in the gang-rape and murder case on July 25. While considering his submission, the SC asked him to inform the JJB about his pending petition in the apex court. He thereafter filed the affidavit. Rajesh Tiwari, the lawyer of the juvenile accused, said he would challenge Swamy’s plea. “Why make one case special! Then all the heinous cases involving juveniles across India should be put on hold,” Tiwari said.

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