New Delhi: India awaits the 16th December gang rape juvenile hearing today with much eagerness as this may turn the course of age old rape laws that the Indian judicial system still follows.
However, it is a day of immense trial for the judiciary too as it has to brace itself for questions from all quarters for its decision today. The Juvenile justice board, presided by the Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel, had reserved the verdict for today, after the prosecution and the counsel submitted their clarifications.
The juvenile is being tried for the rape and murder of a paramedic student on December 16, last year, in a moving bus. He is reported to be one of the six accused behind the brutal gang rape that inflicted serious injuries to the victim, ultimately taking her life on 29 December. The accused is said to have played a very brutal role in the rape.
Now, all eyes are on the juvenile court as to how it approaches the entire matter. Whether it treats the accused as a juvenile and issues a meagre 3 year-corrective remand or it justifies its stance of a life imprisonment or a death sentence.
As people and the victim's parents hook their hopes on the verdict, the court has to consider a lot more things that we know of.
According to a police official, the counsel for the juvenile accused submitted some clarifications on the innocence of the accused, saying that he was not there on the bus. In fact, there was no evidence or fingerprints to prove that the accused had participated in the crime. THis is backed by the accused, who had denied all charges against him when the case was being investigated.
The prosecution too has reported to have answered the clarifications in a document submitted to the court. Meanwhile, the Apex court has agreed to hear the fresh interpretation of the term 'juvenile' in a plea of Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on July 31.
Swamy told the Supreme Court that justice in a juvenile case should consider the "mental and intellectual maturity" of the convict, rather than his age. Logically seen, that is how exactly the case should be. In this case, for instance, the accused was in a position to plan the action and was under no instigation. He had the 'maturity' to understand the situation and how he should act. And the course of action was nothing close to juvenile or kiddish.
All the accused in the case-Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur-have been charged with murder, gangrape, criminal conspiracy, robbery, unnatural sex, dacoity, besides the other sections of the IPC. Proceedings against the key accused Ram Singh abated after his death on 11 March, when he was found hanging in his cell in Delhi's Tihar Jail.