Is 6th rapist a juvenile? Mother not sure of son's real age

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New Delhi, Feb 1: The Juvenile Justice (JJ) Board has declared the sixth accused in the brutal Delhi gang-rape case as a juvenile based on his school certificate. The irony of the case is that even the mother of the sixth rapist is not sure about her son's exact age.

In an article published in The Times of India, the mother of the juvenile rapist said, "Humein din taarikh ki nahin pato hai," his mother said in khari boli, a dialect spoken in these parts of western Uttar Pradesh. "I have no idea regarding either the day or date of admission. I just went to the school and told the teacher that this is my child, he is five years of age, write down his name. They started teaching him after that."

Protest againt Delhi gangrape

On December 16, 2012, a group of six men gang-raped and severely assaulted a 23-year-old paramedical student and her male friend in a moving bus in the national capital. The severely injured women later died in a Singapore hospital on Dec 29, 2012.

The entire episode of barbarity against the woman shocked the nation. People came out on the streets to protest against the crime. The entire nation is demanding capital punishment for all the six rapists as a deterrence.

JJ Board declared on Monday, Jan 28 that the minor accused among six who raped the girl and assaulted her friend deserved a chance at reformation instead of punishment.

The decision of the JJ Board will help the sixth accused get away with least penalty. The JJ Board said it accepted the accused date of birth as 4 June 1995, making him 17 years old. Five other accused are on trial for the crime at a specially convened fast-track court and face the death penalty.

"He is a juvenile. The Juvenile Justice Board declared the sixth accused as a juvenile on the basis of the date of birth (June 4, 1995) on his school certificate," said prosecutor Ishkaran Singh Bhandari. "June 4, 1995, has been taken as his date of birth. The gang-rape happened on December 16, 2012. So, the accused was below the age of 18 on the day the offence was committed," Bhandari explained.

"The birth certificate of the accused was presented to the board by his school principal who came from Uttar Pradesh."

The verdict of JJ Board will help Juvenile go scot-free

According to JJ act a juvenile is a person who is below 18 years of age. With the decision of JJ Board, it seems that the sixth accused will go scot-free in few months from now. Or, he has to stay for three years in a remand home.

Section 15(1)(g) of the JJ Act further mandates that a juvenile convicted of any offence can be sentenced to be sent to a special home for a period of three years, maximum and thereafter be released on probation.

Demand for a bone test on Juvenile

With confusion still lingering on the age of the sixth accused, there is growing demand to determine the exact age of the juvenile. Upset with the Juvenile Justice Board's decision that the sixth accused in the Delhi gang rape is a minor, the woman's family said they will not give up on their demand for harsh punishment to the minor.

"By the deeds, he seems to be well grown-up. We are trying to consult lawyers and get a scientific test done on him," said the father of the student who was gang-raped in Delhi

What is a bone test?

According to medical terms, a bone test is done to find out the exact age of a person. 

"Bone age is the degree of maturation of a person's bones. As one grows through childhood, puberty, and finishes growth as a young adult, the bones change in size and shape. These changes can be seen through x-rays," said an expert.

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