Teen held in Gurugram school killing to be tried as an adult

The board says the circumstances show him ‘mature enough’ to understand the consequences of his act

Gurugram: In a significant decision, the Juvenile Justice Board ruled on Wednesday that the 16-year-old student arrested on charge of killing a Class 2 boy at the Ryan International School in Gurugram district will be tried as a major.

The board arrived at its decision in the light of Section 2 (33) of the new Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act and transferred the case to the District and Sessions court in Gurugram, which will start hearing it from December 22.

The board said the crime allegedly committed by the Class 11 student on September 8 was “heinous” and that the circumstances show him “mature enough” to understand the consequences of his act and to think of ways to escape punishment.

The board can rule in heinous cases as to whether a “minor” should be treated as a “major”.

The boy’s family expressed disappointment over the order while victim Pradhumn Thakur’s family said it was satisfied, adding they were fighting to set a precedent so that the killing spree by kids stopped.

“The board said he [the accused] shall be treated as a major and not a minor. We were hopeful since the beginning that justice will be done as per our expectations. It is a victory over one hurdle, while the fight for the rest is on,” Barun Thakur, the father of murdered boy Pradhuman Thakur, told IANS.

Pradhuman Thakur, 7, was found murdered with his throat slit in the school premises.

On November 8, the CBI arrested the teenager and accused him of committing the crime since he wanted to delay the upcoming exams.

Welcoming the order, Thakur family’s counsel said the case will become a milestone and teenagers will now think twice before committing crime.

The 13-page order of the Juvenile Justice Board rubbished the plea that the murder offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, which entails a maximum punishment of 10 years, was not made out against the accused teenager and observed that the murder charge against him was “rightly invoked”.

The teenager will be lodged at an observation home in Faridabad till he turns 21.

Experts say there is a possibility of relief from the court as the new JJ Act has a provision to take a re-look in the case and decide whether the teenager is to be tried as an adult or not.

The board arrived at its decision after examining the physical and mental ability of the teenager and after hearing lengthy arguments on the Central Bureau of Investigation plea, which were strongly opposed by defence counsel Sandeep Aneha, who argued that the main purpose of the JJ Act is to ensure a juvenile’s welfare.

It also relied on a December 5 report of a clinical psychologist regarding the teenager and his social background, submitted on November 21, which said the youngster in no manner lacked mental and physical capacity to commit the alleged offence.

The board referred to the report in its order and said that the accused has a “mature mind” although he has immature problem-solving skills. “The IQ level of the boy is 95 which means the boy is average,” it said.

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