The sixth suspect, listed as a 17-year-old, was expected to be tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility. But police did not reveal juvenile's identity as it is against the law.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday, Jan 9 asked the Centre to respond to a PIL seeking annulment of certain provisions in the juvenile law, including those that spare minor convicts from life imprisonment and death penalty.
"Issue notice to respondents (the Union ministries of Parliamentary Affairs and Law and Justice). Put up for hearing on Feb 14," a bench of Chief Justices D Murugesan and VK Jain said.
Additional Solicitor General Rajeev Mehra appearing for the Centre said, "So far as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act is concerned, I will have to take instructions and so far as the other prayer (seeking harsher punishment for rape) is concerned, a committee has already been constituted to look into it."
The counsel for Shweta Kapoor, a Supreme Court lawyer who filed the PIL, said various provisions of the Act, including section 16, require to be held as ultra-vires as it prohibits a juvenile above the age of 16 years from being awarded life imprisonment and death penalty.
The PIL also highlights the alleged contradiction in various provisions of the Act which allows a juvenile convict to go out of a special home after attaining majority.
(With inputs from PTI)