The Juvenile Justice Board is likely to announce on Saturday the first verdict in the gang-rape and murder of a paramedical student in a moving bus in Delhi last year.
The court is hearing the trial against a 17-year-old who, along with and five others, raped the 23-year-old
student and fatally assaulted her on December 16 last year. The incident sparked violent protests on the streets of Delhi and led to national outrage.
The prosecution had described the juvenile as the "most brutal of the six accused". If pronounced guilty, the maximum punishment the minor will get under the Juvenile Justice Act is three years confinement at a reformatory home.
According to the prosecution, the minor accused had called the victim and her male friend to the bus by giving them the wrong information that it was heading towards Palam. Besides sexually assaulting the girl twice, he ripped out her internal organs with a rod, the prosecution said.
The Supreme Court had on August 22 allowed the board to pronounce its verdict after restraining it earlier in view of a petition that wanted reinterpretation of the word "juvenile".
The petition wanted the court and to consider the "mental and intellectual maturity of minor offenders" at the time of commission of an offence while fixing their culpability rather than a blanket immunity for those below 18 years.
The juvenile faces the charges of gang rape, murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence and conspiracy.
The board had recorded the statements of six prosecution witnesses, including the victim's male friend and a carpenter who was robbed in the bus the same night.
The juvenile's lawyer argued there was no medical evidence against him to connect him with the charges and no fingerprints could be detected in the bus to show his complicity.
The juvenile claimed innocence and rejected the police version. He claimed he was victimised by his employer and prime accused Ram Singh, who allegedly did not pay him for his work.
The victim's family had wanted the minor to be tried alongwith the four other adult accused, who face the death sentence if found guilty of rape and murder.
But the board accepted his school records that said he was born in 1995, making him 17 years at the time of the crime.
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