New Delhi, August 31: The Juvenile Justice Board on Saturday handed down a three-year sentence to the teenager accused of taking part in the December 16 gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi that outraged the nation.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 17 years old when he committed the crime and so escaped harsher punishment. The JJB found him guilty of taking part in the gang-rape of the woman on a moving bus.
The teenager had denied the charges, as do the four adults also held as accused in the same gang-rape. Another adult who was also arrested in the case committed suicide in jail.
Two of the adults claim they were elsewhere in Delhi during the time the gang-rape was being committed, one says he was at his home village in Bihar, and another says he was merely driving the bus while the others were raping the woman.
The adults face the death penalty if convicted.
Earlier in the day, before the board pronounced its sentence, the mother of the 23-year-old rape victim had said “We are not bothered about minority or majority status of the accused. All we want is justice.”
“Like the four adult accused are expected to get death sentence, he (juvenile) should also be hanged,” she said.
She was asked if the maximum sentence of three years under the Juvenile Justice Act, if awarded, is commensurate with the crime.
“This day reminds me of the morning of December 17 when we heard of the crime committed with our daughter,” she said. Then, “we were praying with folded hands before doctors and God for our daughter's life. Now we are praying before JJB to convict her assaulter and award maximum sentence.”
In the nationwide public outrage that followed the gang-rape, many had demanded that the teenager should be treated as an adult and face the death penalty.
The police had said he had been the most savage of the lot. The victim and her male friend had been beaten up, but the woman was also brutalised with an iron rod and died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital from the effects of the injuries.