The Jammu and Kashmir Police Crime Branch on Monday moved a plea before the Juvenile Justice Board seeking that the trial of one of the accused in the gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua last year be adjourned, PTI reported. The police said that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court was yet to decide if the accused was a minor.
The special public prosecutor said that the High Court was yet to pass its verdict on the crime branch’s plea against the decision of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he is a minor. The crime branch had also annexed a report of the medical board of the Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age.
The juvenile justice board had fixed Monday for examining prosecution witnesses and starting the trial. The board told the crime branch that the High Court had not stayed the holding of the trial. It gave the prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
The trial in the case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year. The Pathankot Sessions Court had on June 10 this year sentenced Sanji Ram, dismissed special police officer Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment. It also handed five-year sentences to three police officers.
On July 10, the father of the girl moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking enhanced punishment for the convicts. The petition sought the death penalty for Sanji Ram, Khajuria and Kumar. The father also challenged the acquittal of one accused in the case.