A charge sheet against the seven youth, including three juveniles in conflict with the law, who were arrested in connection with the heinous Thota Bengre gang-rape case, was filed in the Second Additional District and Sessions Court by Pandeshwar Women Police Station recently.
In November 2018, a gang of seven youth had allegedly raped a woman, belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) community, who had accompanied her friend to a secluded place in Thota Bengre.
In the charge sheet, filed after completion of the investigation, charges were framed against the accused youth under a slew of Sections, including 376 (d), 228 (disclosure of victim’s identity), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intention to outrage her modesty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The incident which had stirred the conscience of Mangaluru had triggered protests by organisations, students associations among others. None of the advocates had come forward to move bail applications on behalf of the accused youth when they were produced before the court in December.
Thus four among the seven accused youth are in judicial custody. If found guilty under section 376 (d) of IPC by the court, the youth will remain imprisoned for the rest of their life. Sources in the district court told DH that court was yet to begin trial into the sensational case as they were waiting for important documents.
Meanwhile, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) under section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, has released the three juveniles in conflict with law on bail.
The public prosecutor in a letter submitted to the director of prosecutions in Bengaluru through deputy director of prosecutions had urged the government to file an appeal against the bail orders in High Court. The public prosecutor justifying the need to file an appeal opined that though the trial into the gang-rape case was yet to begin, the board had gone ahead and granted bail to the juveniles in conflict with the law.
The letter also argues that it was a wrong decision to grant bail as the section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, insists that the bail should be rejected if its assists the juvenile in coming into contact with any known criminals. Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, also insists on a preliminary assessment with regard to the mental and physical capacity (as the children are aged above 16 years in this case), in order to try them as juveniles or as adults in criminal court.
“Such decision to grant bails will defeat the ends of justice,” sources in district court told DH.
The director of public prosecutions will take a decision in this regard soon, sources added.