Hyderabad gang-rape: Why cops want minor accused to be tried as adults
- Gang-rape of a teen girl in Hyderabad led to six people being arrested
- Five of the six accused are minors
- Hyderabad cops want the minors to be tried as adults
The gang-rape of a teenaged girl in Hyderabad for which six men have been arrested triggered a wave of outrage. The Hyderabad police now want the five of the six, those aged between 16 and 18, to be tried as adults in order to ensure maximum punishment. “We are focussing on collecting evidence. Once the chargesheet is filed, we will ask the JJB (Juvenile Justice Board) to recommend they be tried as adults,” Hyderabad DCP D Joel Davis told Times Of India.
Trying minors as adults in rape cases is allowed under a 2015 amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act for accused in “heinous offences” aged 16 to 18. A heinous offence is one that attracts a minimum seven years of imprisonment. Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand said cops will seek the application of this legislation in court “to ensure maximum punishment,” NDTV reported. Otherwise, a juvenile cannot be sentenced to more than three years in jail.
On May 28, a 17-year-old girl went to a pub in Hyderabad’s upscale Jubilee Hills area. She was at a party that was underway at the pub with a friend. After her friend left early, she met the group that assaulted her inside an SUV. Police recorded her statement in front of a magistrate.
Six people have been arrested, five of whom are under the age of 18. Police say five of those arrested were involved in the gang-rape, while one was seen misbehaving with the girl but did not commit rape.
The Juvenile Justice Act sets three criteria to try minors as adults: psychological and physical capacity, comprehension of consequences, and circumstances of the offence. This is what the Hyderabad police seeks to invoke for the trial. Earlier, the city police commissioner had said that stringent sections of law have been invoked and punishment could be life imprisonment or death.
Of the six accused, two minors are son and nephew of an AIMIM MLA. The third is the son of a politician holding a position in a key Telangana government body.