An accused in the 2011 Delhi High Court blast case, who was a minor at the time of his arrest, was on Wednesday held guilty by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and sentenced to three years in a correctional home — the maximum punishment a juvenile can get under law. The youth was taken to the government-run ‘Place of Safety’ home in Majnu Ka Tila.
The accused was among the six persons arrested from Jammu & Kashmir for allegedly masterminding the high-intensity blast outside Delhi High Court on the morning of September 7, 2011. The blast killed 15 and and injured 79 others.
According to the National Investigating Agency (NIA), the juvenile had sent an email to media houses after the blast, claiming responsibility for the attack. “The email had also threatened to stage more such bomb blasts at other courts, including the Supreme Court, if Afzal Guru (the prime accused in the Parliament attack case) was hanged. The email was sent by the juvenile from a cyber cafe in Kishtwar, J&K,” NIA said in a statement.
Noting that the offence committed by the Juvenile in Conflict with Law (JCL) was “not an ordinary, everyday offence”, Principal Magistrate of JJB-1, Vishal Singh, held the youth guilty of “being a part of the conspiracy to wage war against the State through a terrorist act”.
“ The JCL was involved in offences under 121/121-A (waging war against state),122 (collecting arms), 123 (concealing with intent to wage war), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 and 325 (voluntarily causing hurt), 436 and 440 (explosives used with intent to destroy or cause death) of the Indian Penal Code. The reformation and rehabilitation of the juvenile could be a long, effortful journey, requiring constant psychological counselling and motivating him to unlearn what he has learnt while in association with the enemies of the State. To achieve the desired reformation…, he needs to be sent to a Special Home for three years with effect from today. Since he is an adult now, he be kept at Place of Safety, Majnu Ka Tila,” Singh said.
Directing the Superintendent of the Special Home to take special care of the juvenile’s safety and security “against potential danger to his life”, Singh sought the individual care plan of the juvenile be presented before the Board within a week.
Defence lawyers are now planning to file an appeal against the JJB order, after consulting the family. “If the father of the accused agrees, we will file an appeal challenging the order. The boy was hoping for an acquittal because there is nothing in the evidence to prove the charges against him,” a lawyer for the boy said.