Kathua Rape-murder Case: SC Sets Aside Orders Holding Accused a Juvenile

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NEW DELHI — One of the accused in the 2018 Kathua rape and murder case will be tried afresh as an adult. The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the orders passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Kathua, and the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, holding the accused to be a juvenile for the purposes of trial.

The judgment was pronounced by Justice J.B. Pardiwala directing the accused Shubham Sangra should be tried as an adult.

The apex court’s judgment came on an appeal filed by the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir challenging the orders passed by CJM and the high court.

The court noted that the medical expert’s estimate regarding the age of the accused is not a statutory substitute for proof and it is only an opinion.

The detailed judgment in the matter will be uploaded later in the day.

The accused was arrested in the brutal gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua village in 2019.

The eight-year-old girl was reportedly raped by six men who had held her in captivity in a village temple for a week in January. The victim was drugged, raped repeatedly before being bludgeoned to death.

The gruesome incident had sparked wide-spread protests throughout the Valley and other places in the country, The United Nation had also taken note of it and termed the incident “horrific.” The UN General-Secretary Antonio Guterres had expressed hope that the authorities will bring perpetrators of the brutal crime to justice.

A special court at Pathankot in June 2019 had sentenced three men to life imprisonment in the case. — IANS (Inputs added)

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