A Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Thursday reserved its judgment for July 25 on the fate of the juvenile accused, along with five others, in the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus last December. The accused attained majority in June.
The judgment was reserved by the Board presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel – which is conducting an inquiry to ascertain whether he is in conflict with law or not – after the counsel for the accused submitted his clarifications and the police their replies to the same. The police had in their report described the accused as the most violent among the six persons allegedly involved in the case.
Eagerly awaiting the judgment outside the JJB, parents of the victim sought death penalty for the juvenile. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29 last year.
In case the Board on the next date pronounces the juvenile as in conflict with law, child rights lawyer Anant Kumar Asthana said, it would call for a social investigation report through a probation officer. “The report would be about the overall background of the juvenile, on the basis of which the Board would issue a dispositional order (judgment) preferring any one of the seven options under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice Act, Rule 15 of the Delhi Juvenile Justice Rules,” he added.
The options under the said provision are:
(1) Allow the juvenile to go home after advice or admonition following appropriate inquiry against and counselling to the parent or the guardian and the juvenile;
(2) Direct the juvenile to participate in group counselling and similar activities;
(3) Order the juvenile to perform community service;
(4) Order the parent of the juvenile or the juvenile himself to pay a fine, if he is over fourteen years of age and earns money;
(5) Direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any parent, guardian for any period not exceeding three years;
(6) Direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any fit institution for any period not exceeding three years; or
(7) Make an order directing the juvenile to be sent to a special home for a period of three years
While the Board’s final order on the juvenile’s alleged culpability is awaited, it has pronounced the judgment (presently kept in a sealed cover) in a robbery case purportedly involving him. The incident, according to the police, had taken place on December 16, shortly before the juvenile along with the five other accused gang-raped the student. The accused persons had in that case robbed a passenger named Ramadhar Singh of cash and a mobile phone before dumping him near IIT flyover in South Delhi.
The juvenile, who has six siblings, belongs to a poor family from Uttar Pradesh. His father is of unsound mind. About six years ago, he had run away from home and taken up menial jobs at eateries in East Delhi. He then started working as a helper for various bus contractors, soliciting passengers. He was last employed with a travel agency in Karkardooma where he met Ram Singh, the main accused in the gang-rape case who was found hanging in his cell at Tihar Central Jail on March 11.
The other adult accused persons being tried by the special fast-track court are Ram Singh’s brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur.
“As of now, the situation is complicated as there have been conflicting judgments in the Supreme Court on the issue of the JJ Act overriding any other legislation. The issue of whether a juvenile involved in serious offences should be extended the benefit of the Act is pending in the Supreme Court in eight writ petitions which were filed after the gang-rape case. The Apex Court had heard the petitions in the second week of July and the judgment is awaited,” said Mr. Asthana.