The 16-year-old student arrested in the Ryan International School murder case will be tried as an adult under the amended Juvenile Justice Act, 2016, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) has ruled. The JJB, Gurugram, has transferred the case to the district and sessions court. He will be tried under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murder.
The Class XI student of the school located in Sohna Road, Bhondsi, was arrested by the CBI a month ago for the murder of seven-year-old Pradhyumn Thakur, a Class II pupil of the same school. Pradhyumn was found inside a toilet of the school with his throat slit on September 8.
The teenager had confessed to the crime but later retracted his statement.
Sushil Tekriwal, Pradyumn’s family lawyer, while announcing this, has been quoted in the media as telling reporters: “This is a turning point in this case and it is historic. There will be no leniency shown to him.”
Varun Thakur, Pradyumn’s father has also been quoted by agencies as welcoming the decision. He said: “I thank the judiciary for the decision. We always knew that the journey is long but we will go till the end to get justice for my child…”
The accused had allegedly committed the murder in order to defer the school examination and a parent-teacher meeting as he was weak in studies. It has also become known that he was under psychiatric treatment.
This is the first time a minor is being tried as an adult under the new JJ Act and is a precedent-setting case. Even in the Jyoti Singh aka Nirbhaya gang rape murder case, the accused minor was not tried as an adult. That was when the old act was in force, so the juvenile among the murderers got away with a light sentence of three years in a correctional home. The juvenile, whose identity was kept a secret, is already out of jail and has mingled with society at large. He has even been provided a source of income by the state.
It was hotly debated at that time whether the juvenile, who was arguably the cruelest of the lot, should be tried as an adult, because it was such a heinous crime. Finally, the letter of the law had won, but it was only after that that the spirit of the law took over and the law was changed.
In the Ryan case the JJB said the accused was mature enough to know the consequences of his actions and hence should not be treated as a juvenile delinquent. It also said that the accused is hyper-aggressive and knew what he was doing.
The CBI has also refuted claims of the boy’s father that his son was tortured while in custody.
Earlier, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Yashwant Jain had told India Legal that he felt that the JJB would favour trying the accused as an adult as the murder was planned and cold-blooded.
“Had it been an accident or an act perpetrated in the heat of the moment, the Board might have chosen to treat him as a child. But the accused was fully aware of the consequences of his actions and showed the mental ability of an adult insofar as knowledge as well as planning of the act are concerned,” Jain had said.
—India Legal Bureau