In what may be the first order under the recently amended Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, the accused juvenile in the Mercedes hit-and-run case is likely to face trial before a Sessions court as an adult.
JJB Principal Judge Vishal Singh on Saturday accepted the Delhi Police application to treat the juvenile as an adult and hold a trial.
Section 15 of the recently amended JJ Act allows juvenile offenders between the ages of 16 and 18 to be “tried as an adult” in the courts in case of heinous offences. The JJB makes a preliminary assessment, which includes reports from the police and a clinical psychologist, after which the case is sent to the designated children’s court presided over by a Sessions Judge, which makes a second assessment and takes a decision.
32-year-old business consultant Sidharth Sharma was killed on April 4 after being hit by a speeding car being driven by the accused juvenile in the Civil Lines area of North Delhi.
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The JJB in its preliminary assessment has held that the boy “had the physical and mental capacity to understand the consequences of his actions”. It has observed that “circumstances indicated” that he was “indifferent towards the life and safety of the other users of the road but mature enough to think of ways to escape from lawful punishment for the offence”.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Madhur Verma said this was the first case in Delhi in which Section 15 of the JJ Act had been invoked.
“This would be the first case in the capital, or maybe in the country. We had requested the Board to treat him as an adult. Along with the chargesheet, we had submitted an application before the Board,” Verma said.
The police in their application had said that the juvenile “had a history of traffic violations and his father too was responsible for the violations as he never stopped his son from driving the car”.
The matter will come up for hearing before the special children’s court headed by a Sessions Judge on June 9. The sister of the deceased, Shilpa Mittal, told The Sunday Express that the family was “prepared for a long struggle”.