SC rules accused in Kathua gang-rape, murder case be tried as adult, not juveniletext_fields
New Delhi: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that one of the defendants in the high-profile gang rape and murder case involving an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua was not a juvenile and can now be prosecuted again as an adult.
In addition, the top court ruled that in the lack of legislative proof on the subject, a doctor's opinion regarding an accused person's age cannot be "brushed aside."
"Medical opinion regarding age in absence of any other conclusive evidence should be considered to determine the age range of the accused. Whether medical evidence can be relied upon or not depends on the value of the evidence, a bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and J B Pardiwala said, PTI reported.
It set aside the orders of the Chief Judicial Magistrate at Kathua and the high court which had held that the accused Shubam Sangra was a juvenile and hence to be tried separately.
"We set aside the judgements of the CJM Kathua and the high court and hold that the accused was not a juvenile at the time of commission of offence," Justice Pardiwala said while pronouncing the verdict.
The girl was raped in a Kathua village in 2019.
A special court, in June 2019, sentenced three men to life imprisonment in the case and sentenced three police officers to five-year imprisonment for destroying evidence.
However, the trial against Sangra was shifted to the Juvenile Justice Board.