New Delhi, March 11: In yet another example of flaws in the judicial system of India, the Ashiana rape case in 2005 reached its first milestone-the court came to the conclusion that the accused was not a minor then.
Ten years after the alleged rape case, the court rejected an appeal by the man and five other accused who sexually assaulted a 13 year-old girl in Lucknow.
Finally accepting the juvenile board's decision, a fast-track court ruled that Gaurav Shukla, the main accused, was not a minor then and should be tried in an adult court. However, the accused plans to challenge the verdict in a Higher Court.
Ironically, Gaurav was roaming free all these years and is married. Meanwhile, the girl had to endure a long and tedious battle of loneliness and justice.
Activist Madhu Garg of AIDWA said,"She was traumatised after the incident, had nightmares and became withdrawn. She dropped out of school due to fear; in fact she had to be accompanied to public places. It was only after a long time that she regained some confidence."
The survivor, however, vows not to give up. While two accused have died, two others were sentenced to 10 years of jail and a third was given life imprisonment. Months after the incident, the juvenile board declared that Shukla was a minor, based on the certificates he had provided. However, the ruling was challenged by a woman's organization in 2006.
Jalal Gupta, a lawyer representing the victim said that the accused had forged his certificates in order to get a lesser punishment. The case kept dragging for four more years and in 2010, the court rejected the juvenile justice board's claims . Following this, it took the juvenile board another 3 years to confirm Gaurav's age.