Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Police have decided to seek trial of the five minors involved in rape and molestation of the 17-year-old minor at Jubilee Hills that took place on May 28. The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) will have the final say on whether the minors are considered adults or not.
City Commissioner CV Anand said that the move was to ensure ‘maximum punishment’. “Request will be made once all evidence is collected against accused in Jubilee Hills minor gang rape case,” he said.
Meanwhile, the accused A1 Saduddin Malik who is a major in the case has been shifted to Jubilee Hills Police Station from Chanchalguda jail for investigation. He will be investigated for four days.
Cops are waiting for permission from JJB to also interrogate the minors inorder to gain more information on the case.
Malik alongside four juveniles has been named as accused of the gang rape of a minor. However, the 6th accused a minor has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for outraging the modesty of a woman and sexual assault.
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 the 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.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand said that the 6th accused was not involved in the rape of the 17-year-old victim but has been booked for sexual assault.
The five accused 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.
Juvenile Justice Act
As per most of the acts in India, a person aged below 18 years is considered a child. Before the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2015, no children, irrespective of the crime committed by them, can be awarded a punishment of more than 3 years imprisonment.
The JJA 2015 introduced a provision for treating individuals aged 16-18 years as adults if they commit a heinous crime. However, whether to treat a person as an adult or not is decided by JJB.
A crime is considered heinous if the minimum punishment under the IPC or any other law is seven years or more.
In the case of the Hyderabad rape case, if the accused are treated as adults, they may get punishment specified in the provisions of the POCSO Act.
What is POCSO Act?
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was enacted in 2012 to protect children aged below 18 years from various sexual offenses.
Under the act, any person aged below 18 years irrespective of gender is a child. The act broadly classified sexual offenses against the child into five.
- Penetrative sexual assault
- Aggregative penetrative sexual assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggregative sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
The minimum punishment for penetrative sexual assault under POCSO Act is 10 years in jail if the offense is committed against a girl aged between 16-18 years.
In the case of aggregative penetrative sexual assault, the minimum punishment under the act is 20 years.
As per the act, a person who commits sexual assault on a child is punished with an imprisonment of not less than three years whereas, the minimum punishment for the accused of aggregative sexual assault is five years.
In case of sexual harassment, the accused is sent to jail for a term that may extend to three years.
With inputs from IANS.