Hyderabad police is planning to appeal to Juvenile Justice Board to allow their trial in Jubilee Hills gang rape-case as adults.
With the gang rape of the 17-year-old in a car triggering national outrage and evoking demands for stringent punishment to the guilty, the police are planning to move a petition requesting the Board to permit trial of the five juveniles in the case as adults.
Out of six accused in the case, only one Saduddin Malik is a major and the police on Thursday took him into three days custody for further questioning.
While seeking custody of all the minors for questioning them, the police are also planning to file the petition to treat them as majors. This is being done to rule out the chances of the accused escaping harsh punishment.
Police are reportedly planning to bring to the Board’s notice an amendment made to the Juvenile Justice Act in 2015. It would also cite criminal cases of grave nature where the court sentenced harshest punishment to accused below 18 years.
Out of the five accused who sexually assaulted the girl, four are aged 16-17. The sixth accused who has been charged only with molestation is one month short of turning 18. He is the son of a MLA of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM).
Four minors charged with gang rape include son of a leader of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). The leader is also the chairman of a government-run body. Two others are said to be sons of corporators in Greater Hyderabad and Sangareddy. The other accused are also from affluent and politically influential families.
Meanwhile, TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao has welcomed and supported the stand of the police. “If you are adult enough to commit a crime as heinous as rape, one must also be punished as an adult & not as juvenile,” he tweeted.
Malik (18) and four minor have been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 D (gang rape), 323 (causing hurt), Section 5 (G) (gang penetrative sexual assault on child) read with Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 366 (kidnapping a woman) and 366 A (procuration of a minor girl) and Section 67 of Information Technology Act.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand said the accused could face punishment for not less than 20 years or imprisonment for life till death or even death penalty.
The sixth Child in Conflict with Law (CCL) was not involved in rape but he kissed the victim in the car. He has been booked under IPC Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 323 and Section 9 (G) read with 10 of POCSO Act. He could face 5-7 years of imprisonment.
The incident occurred on May 28 after the victim and accused attended a daytime party at a pub in upscale Jubilee Hills.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)