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Supreme Court refuses to consider Kathua gangrape accused as minor, case will run like adult



Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has refused to recognize the accused in the Kathua gangrape and murder case as a minor. The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the accused in the sensational gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua is not a minor. Now he can be tried afresh as an adult.

The Supreme Court in its judgment said that medical opinion regarding the age of an accused cannot be set aside in the absence of statutory evidence. A bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice JB Pardiwala said that in the absence of any other conclusive evidence, medical opinion should be considered for determining the age limit of the accused. Whether or not medical evidence can be relied upon depends on the weight of the evidence.

The Supreme Court bench set aside the orders of the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Kathua and the High Court. These orders stated that the accused Shubham Sangra was a minor at the time of the case and hence he should be tried separately. Justice Pardiwala while delivering the judgment said that we set aside the decisions of the CJM Kathua and the High Court and hold that the accused was not a minor at the time of the offence.

In fact, in 2019, an eight-year-old girl was raped in Kathua village of Jammu and Kashmir. A special court had in June 2019 sentenced three people to life imprisonment in the case and five years imprisonment to three police officers for destroying evidence. But the trial against Sangra was transferred to the Juvenile Justice Board.

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