Delhi gangrape: Most brutal of assailants a minor, says court

The boy, who is seventeen-and-a-half-years-old, would not face the trial under the Criminal Procedure Code like his other associates.

NEW DELHI: A magistrate at Delhi's Juvenile Justice Board has ruled that the sixth accused in the brutal rape and the murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student is a minor.

"He is a juvenile. The Juvenile Justice Board declared the sixth accused as juvenile on the basis of the date of birth on his school certificate which mentions June 4, 1995," said prosecutor Ishkaran Singh Bhandari after the hearing before the board.

The boy, who is seventeen-and-a-half-years-old, would not face the trial under the Criminal Procedure Code like his other associates.

The Delhi Police was treating him as a juvenile purely on the basis of a school leaving certificate obtained from a school in Badaun, UP.

Police said the 23-year-old physiotherapy student and her friend were lured into the bus, both were beaten and then the woman was taken to the rear of the bus and raped. They were then thrown, bleeding and naked, by the dark  roadside in freezing conditions. The girl died in a Singapore hospital nearly two weeks later, succumbing to her horrific injuries.

According to the chargesheet, the juvenile had subjected the 23-year-old physiotherapist to sexual abuse twice, including once when she was unconscious. He extracted her intestine with his bare hands and suggested she be thrown off the moving vehicle devoid of her clothes, it says.

"Of all the persons in the bus, two had engaged in the most barbarism - Ram Singh, the main accused in the case, and the juvenile," said an officer.

"Both of them had subjected her to sexual abuse twice. Singh was the first to rape her followed by the juvenile and then Akshay. Later, when she lost consciousness, Singh and the juvenile raped her a second time."

Nabbed from the Anand Vihar ISBT on December 28 and six months shy of officially turning an adult, the juvenile had moved to the city in 2007.

The juvenile used his 'sing-song' whistle to lure the couple aboard the bus. The vehicle started moving on a different route, making the victim's companion apprehensive. They shut the only functional door of the bus.

Public outrage

The first law on protecting children from being prosecuted for having committed a criminal offence was put in place in 1850, constant amendments during the last three decades have compounded the problem.

The 1850 Apprentice Act provided for children in the 10-18 years age group, convicted by courts, to be provided vocational training intended for their future rehabilitation.

The Centre made the first Children Act in 1960 but it was in 1986 that the first central law on juvenile justice came up.

Its definition of juveniles stated :"Juvenile means a boy who has not attained the age of 16 years or a girl who has not attained the age of 18 years."

In 2000 conforming with the United Nations rules, the government raised the age of juveniles to 18 years.

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that the age of a juvenile accused of having committed any crime, should be determined by ascertaining it on the day of the alleged crime.

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