SC seeks govt response on petition by victim’s fatherhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/sc-seeks-govt-response-on-petition-by-victims-father/

SC seeks govt response on petition by victim’s father

Criminal court,not JJB,should decide juvenility of accused: Plea

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre on a petition by the father of the December 16 gangrape victim.

The plea demanded that the juvenile convict in the case should be put on trial like an accused since the blanket immunity to juvenile offenders was “arbitrary and unconstitutional”.

The petition also stated that the juvenility of an accused should be determined by a criminal court and not by the Juvenile Justice Board and the provisions mandating such immunity should be quashed.

A bench led by Justice B S Chauhan also asked the Ministry of Women and Child Development to file its response within four weeks on the issue of ascertaining the “minority of an offender” in heinous cases.

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The juvenile,who was six months short of 18 at the time of the incident,was convicted for gangrape and murder of the 23-year-old paramedic student.

However,under the existing provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act,he was sent to a observation-cum-reformation home for three years.

The father of the victim,who had said the August 31 verdict of the Juvenile Justice Board was not acceptable to the family,has sought a direction to declare as unconstitutional and void the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act to the extent it puts a blanket ban on the power of the criminal courts to try a juvenile offender for offences committed under the Indian Penal Code.

His plea said the “juvenile is liable to be tried and punished by the criminal courts for the aforesaid offences,complete with the judicial discretion on established principles of law regarding the award of sentence keeping in view,amongst other factors,the nature and gravity of the offence”.

The petition referred to the trial court verdict according to which four adult accused were convicted and sentenced to death and sought similar trial for the then juvenile offender,who has now turned major.

The four adult convicts — Akshay Thakur,Vinay Sharma,Pawan Gupta and Mukesh — were tried by a fast-track court which awarded them death penalty.

Now,the sentence is before the Delhi High Court for confirmation.

Another accused Ram Singh was found dead on March 11 in his cell in Tihar Jail.