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Gurugram school murder: Decide afresh if accused can be tried as adult, says high court

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday asked the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Gurugram, to decide afresh whether the teenager accused of the murder of a seven-year-old school boy that shook the nation should be tried as an adult or as a juvenile.

gurgaon Updated: Oct 12, 2018 08:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Chandigarh
Gurugram school murder,Punjab and Haryana high court,Juvenile Justice Board
The class 11 student accused of murdering a seven-year-old in a school toilet in September 2017. The juvenile allegedly committed the murder to have school exams and a parent-teacher meeting postponed. (Parveen Kumar/HT File Photo)

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday asked the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Gurugram, to decide afresh whether the teenager accused of the murder of a seven-year-old school boy that shook the nation should be tried as an adult or as a juvenile.

The high court bench of justice Daya Chaudhary allowed the petition of the accused, filed in July, 2018 challenging the decision of the board ordering his trial as an adult for the September 2017 murder.

“The court has asked it to consider afresh whether the boy can be tried as an adult or a juvenile,” the accused’s lawyer, senior advocate Rupinder Khosla said. The detailed order of the court is awaited.

The Class 2 boy was allegedly murdered on September 8, 2017 at the school’s campus in Gurugram by a 16-year-old student of the same school with the motive of getting examinations and a parent-teacher meeting postponed according to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheet filed at a district and sessions court in Gurugram. Those between the age group of 16-18 now can be tried as adults for heinous crimes after following a due process involving the JJB as per a 2015 law.

Expectedly, lawyers are divided on the issue. Some think it will ensure that juveniles get the chance they were supposed to according to the law. “The high court has given a right judgment by laying the principles that the new amendment in the juvenile act is not sacrosanct always and need to be vetted in each and every case in its own merits and circumstances. The high court has rightly given the verdict on the principles of equity,” said Ramesh Gupta, senior advocate, Supreme Court (Juvenile crime):

Others think the board’s original decision was valid. “The heinous offences committed by the juveniles cannot be taken casually and no leniency shall be shown towards them. After Nirbhaya judgement, an amendment was made in the juvenile act categorically saying that the juveniles more than 16 years old till 18 years old shall be tried as an adult. This aspect is very significant,” said Digvijay Rai, advocate, Supreme Court(juvenile crime):

The board , in December, 2017 held that the teenager could be tried as an adult. The sessions court upheld the decision.

The accused has claimed in the appeal that due process as envisaged in the law was not followed by CBI and that he was not associated with the proceedings. He also claimed he wasn’t given enough opportunity to be heard.

Initially, the local police arrested a bus conductor, employed by the school, for the crime. However, CBI, which was entrusted with the probe on September 22, found that the murder was committed by the 16-year- old.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 23:58 IST