Tribune News Service
Jammu/Kathua, July 15
The Crime Branch of the J&K Police on Monday moved a plea before the Juvenile Justice Board hearing the case of an accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, seeking deferment of the trial as the J&K High Court is yet to decide whether the accused is a minor or not.
According to official sources, the special public prosecutor while moving a deferment plea said the High Court was yet to pronounce decision on an application moved against the order of a Kathua court which accepted the accused’s claim that he was a minor.
After framing the charges against the accused who allegedly played a key role in the crime, the board had fixed July 15 for examining prosecution witnesses and commencing the trial.
However, the board while examining the plea of the Crime Branch declared that there was no stay by the High Court on deferring the trial and gave prosecution two weeks to produce evidence and its witnesses in the case.
“We are yet to receive any deferment order from the High Court so it can’t be deferment at the moment. The next hearing in the case will be on July 29,” Arvind Gupta, counsel of the juvenile, accompanied by his colleague Vijay Sharma, told The Tribune quoting Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Kathua, Yashpal Sharma, who is the head of the board in the case, as saying.
Pertinently, the Crime Branch had filed a petition in the High Court against the accused’s claim of being a juvenile and claimed that the then CJM in Kathua had “erred” in accepting it. It had also annexed a report of the medical board of Government Medical College, Jammu, which said the accused was “not less than 19 and not more than 21” years of age.
The board had issued a notice to the Crime Branch after it framed charges on July 8, asking them to bring evidence and witnesses for the trial.
‘SC directions violated’
Defence counsel Arvind Gupta on Monday alleged that the Juvenile Justice Board had violated the Supreme Court’s direction of day-to-day trial in the case. “Against all accused, the day-to-day trial was held, but the Supreme Court order was not complied with in the juvenile’s case,” the defence counsel claimed
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