New Delhi: A day after the Delhi Police filed a chargesheet against five adult accused, questions are being asked about the fate of the sixth accused, a juvenile, who may escape tough punishment - as per juvenile laws he can be kept in a reform facility for not more than three years.
However, the teen – 17 years and six months old as per school records – is said to be the most brutal in the gang of the six men who raped the 23-year-old girl on December 16. He, along with driver Ram Singh, had engaged in most barbarism, reports said.
Giving the circumstances, a demand has been raised to make suitable amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act, so as to ensure that teens involved in heinous crimes like rape and murder are subjected to tough laws under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
In the Delhi gang-rape case, the juvenile will be tried in Juvenile Justice Board. However, the police are awaiting the bone test results to confirm that he is a minor.
The victim’s father said that the juvenile should not be let off lightly because of his age. "The juvenile should be punished first...he was the one who lured my daughter into the bus and tortured her most mercilessly. He should be hanged like the other five accused," he was quoted as saying.
Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Krishna Tirath also echoed similar sentiments. She said the juvenile should be treated as an exception and not let off lightly considering the seriousness of the crime.
"From what I have learnt, one of the culprits in the case is not 18 years and falls short by a few months. Keeping in mind the gruesome nature of the crime, I feel he should not be let off lightly considering he played a prominent role in the violent act," she said.
However, it may not be easy for the government to amend the law. Experts feel that a revision of the law may help in punishing the future offenders, but it will not help in the Delhi gang-rape case as such laws cannot be implemented retrospectively.
Also, India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, which it ratified in 1992.
Yesterday, the Delhi Police filed a 33-page chargesheet with annexures running into several hundred pages was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover with the prosecution urging the court to keep the document in a sealed cover to protect the identity of the victim and that the proceedings be held in-camera.
The Delhi Police filed the chargesheet in paper format and have requested the court to keep it sealed till it files the chargesheet in e-format on January 05.
The victim, who was gang-raped on December 16 in a moving bus in South Delhi, had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
The prosecution alleged that the crime was executed in a "well-planned" manner
The court has posted the matter for hearing on January 05 before the area magistrate.
The trial in the case will be held on a day-to-day basis and public won’t be allowed inside the court premises during the trial.