The Delhi Juvenile Justice Board’s verdict on the involvement of a minor in the December 16 gang rape and murder case may get further deferred.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that the board would not deliver the judgment till the top court decided a PIL filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy seeking a fresh interpretation of the term “juvenile”. The bench has fixed August 14 for the next hearing.
Advocate Anoop Bhambani, appearing for the juvenile, opposed Swamy’s plea and sought more time to file a response to his petition.
Even the Centre opposed the petition, claiming he could not have intervened in a criminal case. It said that any decision delivered by the apex court cannot be applied in retrospective effect and would not affect the status of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gang rape.
The bench, however, said the issue raised in the petition needed to be examined along with maintainability of the plea.
Swamy has appealed that the “mental and intellectual maturity” of minor offenders be considered instead of the age limit of 18 years while fixing their culpability.
After the Supreme Court had on July 23 agreed to hear his plea, the board had deferred till August 5 the pronouncement of its verdict on the alleged involvement of the juvenile in the gang rape.
The juvenile was one of six persons who had gang-raped a 23-year-old woman on a bus. The others accused, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, are facing trial before a fast-track court.