A Juvenile Justice Board in Hyderabad held on Friday that four out of five minors accused of having gang-raped and sexually assaulted a girl in May can be tried as adults, ANI reported.
The board held that the fifth minor should be treated as a child, which means that proceedings against him will continue under the Juvenile Justice Act.
The sixth accused person in the case, Saduddin Malik, is an adult.
The Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 allows those aged above 16 to be treated as adults if they have been accused of a heinous crime. However, the Juvenile Justice Board has to evaluate if they were mentally and physically capable of committing the offence.
Under the Act, a minor who committed a crime can be sent to an observation home for a maximum of three years. If the minors are tried as adults and convicted, they will be placed in an observation home till they are 21, and then shifted to a jail. They cannot be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
On May 28, the 17-year-old girl and her friend had gone to a pub to attend a party where she was allegedly befriended by the accused persons, according to the police. They offered to drop her home but instead took her to a secluded spot and allegedly gangraped her, the police said.
At first, the girl had shared vague details about the assault with her parents on May 31. A day later, she told the police everything.
Of the six persons taken into custody, five have been booked for gangrape. One of the minors is the son of an All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA. He has been booked for sexual assault.
The police had initially claimed that the MLA’s son was not in the car and said that he was not involved in the assault.
However, on June 4, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Raghunandan Rao alleged that the MLA’s son was involved in the gangrape. At a press conference, Rao showed a video of the accused persons to reporters. He also displayed printouts of screengrabs from the video.
Following this, the police on Tuesday named the MLA’s son as an accused in the case.
The police had said on June 9 that they would push for the minors accused in the case to be treated as adults.