Dec 16 gang-rape: Verdict on juvenile Saturday

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The verdict on the minor accused in the Dec 16, 2012 gang rape here is likely to be pronounced by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) Saturday.

The board, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, will pronounce the first verdict in the case around 10 a.m.

The incident occurred in Munirka in south Delhi when a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern was brutally gang raped in a bus that she and her male companion had boarded.

The boy, who was 17-and-half years old at the time of the incident, has turned 18.

The accused could face a maximum punishment of a three-year stay in a special home, including the time already spent in detention during the board proceedings.

The Supreme Court Aug 22 had allowed the board to go ahead with pronouncing its verdict after accepting Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's plea for a fresh interpretation of the term juvenile.

Swamy had moved the apex court saying that the "mental and intellectual maturity" of minor offenders be considered instead of the age limit of 18 years while fixing their culpability.

Admitting Swamy's plea, the bench of Supreme Court had said it would examine the larger issue of immunity granted to a juvenile accused involved in heinous offences from being tried under the normal criminal laws.

The boy has been separately held guilty on robbery charges, the sentence for which will also be pronounced Aug 31.

The victim had succumbed to injuries Dec 29 at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she had been airlifted for specialised treatment.

The incident sparked protests across the country with some people demanding the execution of the accused and some calling for chemical castration.

Police has in its charge sheet said the juvenile was the most brutal of all the accused.

A native of Uttar Pradesh, the minor had moved to Delhi at the age of 11 and was arrested after the incident from Anand Vihar in east Delhi.

Six people, including the juvenile, were arrested in the case. While accused Ram Singh, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were tried by a fast track court in Saket in south Delhi, the juvenile's case was heard by the board.

The case against Ram Singh was dropped after he was found dead, hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail here.

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