Written byGogona Saikia
Dismissing a petition by a 16-year-old, a Gurugram court has ruled that he will be tried as an adult for murdering seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur last September.
The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) had ruled the same in December, but the accused had challenged the verdict.
However, he was mature enough "to understand consequences of actions and think of ways to escape punishment," the court observed.
Juvenile law gained attention when the main accused in the Nirbhaya case was sentenced to just three-years' imprisonment, because he was a few months short of 18.
In 2015, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill was passed, allowing for those aged 16-18 to be tried as adults in 'heinous crimes.'
'Heinous crimes' are those punishable by seven-years' imprisonment or more.
According to the post mortem report, the cause of death was "shock and haemorrhage"
An external injury was caused due to a sharp single-edged weapon which led to his death.
The incident caused outrage as angry parents all over demanded more accountability from schools.
In November, CBI arrested a Class 11 student, accusing him of murdering Thakur to delay exams and a parent-teacher meeting. He even reportedly confessed, but his father maintained he's innocent, and had confessed only because CBI tortured him and "threatened to shoot his entire family."
In December, the JJB ruled he will be tried as an adult. It based its order on his psychological evaluation, which indicated he was "hyper-aggressive" and restless.
He was mentally and physically capable of committing the crime, it noted.
It also observed he had confessed at first, but later retracted alleging custodial torture.
It concluded the boy was "average" and "has a mature mind."
The JJB ruled that IPC Section 302 (murder) had been "rightly invoked" in the case. The verdict implies if the boy is convicted, he won't be released after three years; he will be lodged in a correctional home till he turns 18, then shifted to jail.
The Gurugram court has also dismissed two petitions challenging CBI's authority to take the juvenile into custody for the "heinous" crime.
His father now plans to challenge the order in the high court. "I'll not leave any stone unturned to save (my son)," he said.
But Pradyuman's family is relieved. "The JJB has passed a reasoned order which cannot be faulted," said Sushil Tekriwal, their counsel.
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