The verdict on a minor's involvement in the December 16 gang rape may get deferred as the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy for a fresh interpretation of the term "juvenile".
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam admitted the plea for hearing on July 31. The juvenile justice board (JJB), which had been hearing the case against the minor's involvement in the rape, had fixed July 25 to pronounce its verdict.
When Swamy said his petition would become infructuous as the board was scheduled to pronounce the judgment on Thursday, the CJI told him to inform the about about his petition in the apex court. "Inform the board that we are seized of the matter," it said.
In his petition, Swamy has asked to consider the "mental and intellectual maturity" instead of age limit of 18 years for offenders involved in gruesome crimes. He said the "straightjacket" interpretation of the term juvenile in the present law was in violation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Beijing Rules.
The UNCRC and Beijing Rules say the presumption of "the age of criminal responsibility" be fixed while "bearing in mind the mental and intellectual maturity" of offender, Swamy said.