New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Saturday ordered that the juvenile accused, in the infamous Mercedes hit-and-run case in the national capital, will be tried as an adult. The accused had allegedly mowed down a 33-year-old Delhi business consultant, Siddharth Sharma on April 04, 2016.
The JJB passed the order toady while calling the offence, allegedly committed by the teen accused, as a "heinous crime".
While passing the above order, the Juvenile Justice Board said, "He (accused) is in no manner lacking in mental & physical capacity to commit the alleged offence. "
The board further said, "On the date of the incident, he had the ability to understand the consequences of the offence."
"Conduct of accused before & after the incident clearly reflect that he understood of the offence alleged against him. However, the circumstances collectively indicate that accused was indifferent towards life & safety of other users of the road," the JJB added.
The Presiding Officer of the JJB passed the order on the application of Delhi Police which had sought transfer of the case to trial court to try as adult the accused. The Delhi Police had on May 26 chargesheeted the juvenile in the JJB for the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The apex court transferred the said case under the amended section 15 of Juvenile Justice Act, as per media reports.
It is the first of its kind case since the amendment in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which allowed the Board to transfer cases of heinous offences by children to Sessions court.
As per section 2(33) of the Act, "heinous offences" include the offences for which minimum punishment under IPC or any other law for the time being in force is imprisonment for seven years or more.
Meanwhile, the decision of the court was applauded by the victim's family as this has happened for the first time that a juvenile case has been transferred to a Sessions court.
Meanwhile, reacting over the apex court's order, victim’s sister, Shilpa Mittal said, "We are very happy with the JJB's order.”
She further said, "Juvenile was mentally healthy, he was aware of the consequences of driving fast. Children's court will start it from scratch."
However, she added: "We won't get justice easily; fighting to set an example, that no one is above law."
The victim's parents had demanded that the accused be tried as an adult so he cannot "get away with lighter punishment" on a technicality.
The accused had turned 18, four days after the accident happened. At the time of the accident, he was driving the car at 80 km per hour and Sharma was flung several feet into the air by the impact of the crash and landed around 15 metres away from where he stood, as per police.
On the day of the incident, the teen was out celebrating with friends after his Class 12 exams.
The Juvenile Justice Board had earlier denied bail to the accused calling him a "repeat offender" and an example of "bad parenting". The teenager had been fined thrice last year -- twice for speeding and once for parking wrongly.
The offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder entails a maximum of 10 years jail.
The boy's father has also been charged with abetting the crime by allowing him to drive before the legal age.
Police had said in its chargesheet that the boy had fatally run over victim Siddharth Sharma with his father's Mercedes when Sharma was trying to cross a road near Ludlow Castle School in north Delhi.
The final report was filed for alleged offences under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 279 (driving on a public way so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life) and 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers human life) against him.
Police had further said that after the incident, a group of youths stepped out of the vehicle and fled from the spot abandoning the car there.
The police had earlier arrested a man who claimed to be the actual driver of the Mercedes at the time of incident but he did a volte-face after he got to know the victim was dead.
The driver and the boy's father, who was also arrested earlier, were granted bail by the court.
The youth had appeared before a Delhi court to surrender and moved a bail plea which was rejected on the ground that it was a matter of JJB. He was then produced before the board. However, the Board had on April 26 granted bail to the accused who sought the relief to appear in entrance examinations.
(With Agency inputs)