The juvenile accused in the December16 gang rape and murder of paramedical student, is escorted after he was produced before the Juvenile Justice Board in New Delhi on Saturday
New Delhi: In the first conviction in the December 16 gang rape case, the juvenile accused was on Saturday found guilty of murder and rape of the 23-year-old girl but he got away with a maximum of three years imprisonment mandated under the juvenile law.
The juvenile, who was six months short of 18 years – the age of majority – was, however, acquitted by the Juvenile Justice Board of attempt to murder of the paramedic’s male friend, who was the sole eye witness to the dastardly incident that shook the nation.
The verdict came under attack from the mother of the victim who said it was not acceptable to her. “There was no need for these proceedings. We have been fooled. I don’t accept the judgement. What was the need for keeping us waiting for the whole day,” the victim’s mother said after the verdict.
“It’s a crime to be born a girl in this country,” the disappointed father of the girl told mediapersons after the verdict. They added they will appeal against the verdict at the Delhi High Court.
The Board, presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel sentenced the minor to three years in a probation home, the maximum punishment that can be awarded under the Juvenile Justice Act.
The eight months already spent by the juvenile in custody during the inquiry will be considered as period already served and would be deducted from the three years sentence.
The Board had on July 11 also convicted the accused, a cleaner in the bus in which the victim was raped on the fateful night, in another case of robbery.
It on Saturday awarded him the sentence already undergone by him in the probation home for robbing Ramadhar, a carpenter who had boarded the bus but was thrown out before the gangrape victim and her friend were assaulted.
On the night of December 16, last year, the 23-year-old victim, a paramedic student, was gang raped and brutally assaulted by six persons in a moving bus.
The victim later succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, last. The four adult accused are being tried by a fast-track court in Saket here. Another accused Ram Singh was found dead on March 11 in his cell in Tihar Jail and the trial against him has been abated.
He should be hanged: Girl’s mother
“We are not bothered about minority or majority status of the accused. All we want is justice,” the mother of the 23-year-old gang rape victim said earlier, ahead of the Juvenile Justice Board’s verdict in the case involving a minor.
“Like the four adult accused are expected to get death sentence, he (juvenile) should also be hanged,” she said. She was asked if the maximum sentence of three years under the Juvenile Justice Act, if awarded, is commensurate with the crime.
“This day reminds me of the morning of December 17 when we heard of the crime committed with our daughter,” she said arriving at the JJB in morning on Saturday.
The victim’s mother had said, “Earlier, we were praying with folded hands before doctors and God for our daughter’s life. Now we are praying before JJB to convict her assaulter and award maximum sentence.”
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Large number of mediapersons were awaiting the verdict of the Board. The public in and around the JJB and relatives of juveniles accused in other cases could be seen waiting for the same.
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.
During the inquiry, the juvenile had denied all charges against him, claiming he was not a participant in the horrendous crime.
While the juvenile faced inquiry before the JJB, the other four adult accused – Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur – 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. They have been charged with gang rape, murder, criminal conspiracy, unnatural sex and robbery besides other sections of IPC. The case had sparked intense debate on anti-rape laws and whether the juvenile age should be lowered.