Verdict likely tomorrow on juvenile's role in Dec 16 gangrape

The Board is expected to deliver the verdict as the apex court had on August 22 allowed it to pronounce the judgement in the case against the juvenile, who according to the police, was the "most brutal" of all the six accused persons.

December 16 gangrape
A protest following the December 16 Delhi gangrape. Pic/AFP

The pronouncement of verdict had been deferred by the Board four times since July 11. The JJB, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, had been postponing the verdict on the ground that the Supreme Court is to decide on maintainability of a PIL seeking fresh interpretation of the term 'juvenile' in the statute.

The Board had concluded on July 5 its inquiry that began in March against the juvenile. It had reserved the judgement after it heard final arguments from both the prosecution and the defence in the case. The Board is also expected to pronounce tomorrow the sentence in the other case against the juvenile pertaining to robbing Ramadhar, a carpenter who had boarded the bus on the night of December 16, 2012 and was thrown out before the girl and her friend were assaulted.

The girl died in a Singapore hospital on December 29. He was held guilty for the offence of robbery. During the inquiry, the juvenile had denied all charges against him, claiming he was not a participant in the horrendous crime. The juvenile was one of the six accused arrested in the case.

While the juvenile faced inquiry before the JJB, the four adult accused are being tried before a fast track court. Key accused Ram Singh was found hanging in Tihar Jail in March and the proceedings against him stand abated. The case had sparked intense debate on anti-rape laws and whether the juvenile age should be lowered.

When the evidence was put against the juvenile during the final arguments, his counsel had submitted there was no medical evidence to connect him with the charges and no finger prints could be detected in the bus, where the paramedic student was gangraped, to show his complicity.

The defence counsel had also claimed the juvenile had been implicated by the police though neither the victim nor her male friend had done so in their initial statements. He had also said the victim's male friend, who is the complainant in the case, did not depose against him even before the JJB and alleged Ramadhar, who is said to have identified him as one of the six accused in the bus, deposed falsely at the behest of the police.

The juvenile had in his statement recorded by the Board during the inquiry claimed innocence and refuted the police version in the charge sheet of him being the "most brutal" of all the accused. Besides the juvenile, four adult accused facing trial in the case are -- Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur. They have been charged with gangrape, murder, criminal conspiracy, unnatural sex and robbery besides other sections of IPC. 

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