Jubilee Hills rape case: Except MLA's son, 4 other accused to be tried as adults

It is pertinent to note that no preliminary assessment has been conducted with respect to the fifth accused, the minor who is related to a politician, as the offenses alleged against him “are not heinous.” An assessment was conducted for the other four accused as their offenses were “heinous,” the order stated.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  30 Sep 2022 3:16 PM GMT
Jubilee Hills rape case: Except MLAs son, 4 other accused to be tried as adults

Hyderabad: The Juvenile Justice Board on Friday said that four minors accused in the Jubilee Hills rape of a minor girl can be tried as adults.

The V. additional chief metropolitan magistrate cum principal magistrate of Juvenile Justice Board, Hyderabad, passed the order.

Further, the court transferred the case record pertaining to the four (child in conflict with law) to the children's court and XII AMSJ, Nampally, Hyderabad for trial by invoking section 18(3) of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, POCSO Act, and section 67A of Information Technology Act.

It is pertinent to note that no preliminary assessment has been conducted with respect to the fifth accused, the minor who is related to a politician, as the offenses alleged against him "are not heinous." An assessment was conducted for the other four accused as their offenses were "heinous," the order stated.

The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) conducted a preliminary assessment of the four in compliance with section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act 2015 read with Rule 10-A of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules 2016.

In the order, the court mentioned that the Juvenile Justice Board took the assistance of the professor of psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad who is deputed to assist the Board. The psychiatrist, the board member, and the magistrate interacted separately with each child and as such, the psychiatrist and the board member submitted their individual reports.

The court itself interacted with the minors separately to assess their mental and physical capacity to commit the alleged offences and the ability to understand the consequences of the offences and also the circumstances in which they allegedly committed the offences.

Moreover, the court observed that the board member, in her report dated 29 September 2022, agreed with the opinion of the psychiatrist that the four minors have mental and physical capacity but deferred on the aspect of the Child in Conflict with Law (CCLs) capacity to understand the legal consequences of their actions. She opined that the CCLs may have been lured by the welcoming approach of the victim and that the CCLs do not have legal education and hence are unable to understand the legal consequences.

The court, in its order, mentioned, "In the event of any difference of opinion among the members of the board in the interim or final disposal, the opinion of the majority shall prevail, but where there is no such majority, the opinion of the principal magistrate shall prevail."

Lastly, in view of the discussion and material available on record, the court opined that there is a need for trial of the four minors as adults. Hence, the court transferred the case record pertaining to them to the children's court and XII AMSJ, Nampally, Hyderabad for trial by invoking section 18(3) of the JJ Act 2015.

Timeline of the case

The victim, a 17-year-old girl was returning from a party when she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a group of youngsters in a moving vehicle in the Jubilee Hills area in the city on 28 May 2022. The son of an influential person was allegedly involved in the incident along with four others. All five accused are minors.

According to the complaint filed by the victim's father, on the afternoon of 28 May, his daughter went to a party at Amnesia & Insomnia Pub located on Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills. At about 5.30 p.m, a few guys in a red Mercedes took her out of the pub and misbehaved with her. They also inflicted minor injuries on her neck.

The police had earlier registered a case under section 354 (outrage of modesty) of the IPC and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against the accused. The girl was sent for medical examination and the police altered the case and added section 376 (gang rape) of the IPC.

The police initially registered a case of "outraging modesty" based on a complaint lodged by the victim's family. The investigators sent the girl for a medical examination. When the woman officers at the Bharosa centre interacted with the minor, she reportedly revealed the sexual assault.

On 31 May, a case was filed after the victim's parents saw bruises on the girl's neck. An FIR was filed on the same day and a hunt was launched to nab the culprits.

The six accused (including five child in conflict with law) were apprehended by the police between 2 and 7 June.

After filing charge sheets, in record two months, the Hyderabad city police filed a petition with the Juvenile Justice Board to try the minor suspects in the case as adults, keeping in mind the gravity of the crime.

The police, in the petition, submitted that the minors had committed a heinous and grave crime and that they were mature enough to be tried as adults. Investigation officials gathered evidence in the case to try the six suspects, including five minors, charging them with rape and other sections.

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