A PRELIMINARY assessment has been ordered to determine whether the two teenagers booked for the murder of their three-and-a-half-year old neighbour in December last year should be tried as adults. The Juvenile Justice Board passed the order last week after the JJ Marg police filed its final report before it against the two.
The boys, aged 17 and 16, were apprehended in December for the alleged murder of Juneza Khan, their neighbour in the Nagpada area in South Mumbai.
Under the amended Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, in case of a heinous offence committed by a juvenile above the age of 16, the Board conducts preliminary assessment with regard to his mental and physical capacity to commit the alleged offence.
A psychiatrist is likely to conduct this examination at the Dongri Observation Home, where the children are lodged, or at the JJ Hospital.
The assessment will also take into consideration their ability to understand the consequences of the offence committed by them and the circumstances in which it was allegedly committed.
On December 5, Juneza had gone missing from her home around 8.30pm. Her family approached the police immediately and a search was launched to locate her.
The JJ Marg police claim to have solved the case when the two juveniles called Juneza’s father to seek ransom two weeks after the abduction. The police claim that Juneza had been allegedly killed by the 17-year old who lived on the same floor as the girl with the cord of a mobile charger as he panicked since her family was looking for her.
The police had initially claimed that the 16-year-old had helped the elder boy dispose of the body by sliding it on to the roof of a neighbouring building.
Once the preliminary assessment is completed, the Board will decide whether it should dispose of the matter itself or transfer it to a children’s court.
“We filed the final report before the Board under sections 302 (murder), 385 (putting person in fear of injury to commit extortion), 363 (kidnapping), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (common intent),” said a police officer at JJ Marg police station. He added that they have examined over 25 witnesses and found the involvement of the two juveniles in kidnapping and murdering the girl.