New Delhi: The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Saturday pronounced the minor accused guilty in the infamous December 16 gang-rape case.
He was one of the six accused in the case that had sparked national outrage. The prime accused in the case, Ram Singh, was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail early this year.
This is the first verdict in the December 16 gang-rape and murder of the paramedic student.
Victim’s mother informed journalists about the Board’s verdict as they were not allowed to go inside the court room. She said the family, who had demanded death for the juvenile accused, will challenge the verdict in the High Court.
The Board was on August 22 allowed by the Supreme Court to deliver the verdict. The apex court had earlier restrained the JJB from pronouncing the verdict against the juvenile, who according to the police, was the “most brutal” of all the six accused persons.
The pronouncement of verdict had been deferred by the Board four times since July 11.
The JJB, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, had been postponing the verdict on the ground that the Supreme Court is to decide on maintainability of a PIL seeking fresh interpretation of the term ‘juvenile’ in the statute.
The Board had concluded on July 5 its inquiry that began in March against the juvenile. It had reserved the judgement after it heard final arguments from both the prosecution and the defence in the case.
The Board was also expected to pronounce the sentence in the other case against the juvenile pertaining to robbing Ramadhar, a carpenter who had boarded the bus on the night of December 16, 2012 and was thrown out before the girl and her friend were assaulted. The girl died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
The juvenile had been held guilty for the offence of robbery.
During the inquiry, the juvenile had denied all charges against him, claiming he was not a participant in the horrendous crime.
The juvenile was one of the six accused arrested in the case.
While the juvenile faced inquiry before the JJB, the four adult accused are being tried before a fast track court.
The case had sparked intense debate on anti-rape laws and whether the juvenile age should be lowered.
Besides the juvenile, four adult accused facing trial in the case are — Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
They have been charged with gang-rape, murder, criminal conspiracy, unnatural sex and robbery besides other sections of IPC.