The Supreme Court stays the proceedings against one accused before the Juvenile Justice Board in Kathua Case

The Supreme Court observed that a contract is void if prohibited by a statute under a penalty, even without express declaration that the contract is void

The bench of Justices N V Ramana, Ajay Rastogi and V Ramasubramanian of the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings before the Juvenile Justice Board in the Kathua rape and murder case, after the Jammu and Kashmir government claimed that the Union Territory’s High Court had erroneously affirmed the order of a trial court holding the main accused to be a minor. The matter is posted on March 11, 2020.

Prior Facts:

The eight-year-old girl from the nomadic community of Bakerwal was kidnapped from Kathua’s Rasana area on January 10, 2018, and was found dead on January 17 that year. According to the 15-page charge sheet, the victim was kidnapped, drugged, hit by a stone, raped and strangulated inside the temple premises by the accused. The JJB had last year framed charges against the ”minor” and continued with the proceedings of examination of prosecution witnesses. On May 7, 2018, the top court transferred the trial of the case from Kathua in Jammu to Pathankot in Punjab and ordered for day-to-day trial after some lawyers stopped crime branch officials from filing a charge sheet in the case.

On June 10, a trial court in Pathankot had sentenced three convicts in the case – Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar – to life imprisonment. While Ram was the mastermind of the crime and the caretaker of the temple where the child was raped, Khajuria was a police officer. Special Police Officer Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta were awarded five years in prison for destroying evidence. The court acquitted the seventh accused, Vishal Jangotra, son of Sanji Ram, by giving him the “benefit of doubt”.

Key Features:

  • Patwalia, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, said that the High Court had on October 11, 2019, wrongly affirmed the trial court order of March 27, 2018, without appreciating that the date of birth recorded in the municipal and school records are contradictory to each other.
  • Patwalia added that despite the Supreme Court’s notice to the accused on January 6, the Juvenile Justice Board has continued hearing the case, treating him as a minor at the time of the incident.
  • Patwalia alleged that the accused is one of the main conspirators in the crime and had abducted, gang raped and murdered the eight-year-old girl.
  • The lawyer added that the medical board that the High Court had constituted had opined that the accused was between 19 and 23 years of age at the time of the incident.

Judgement:

The bench of the Supreme Court said it had heard senior advocate PS Patwalia, appearing for the petitioners, and would order a stay on the proceedings. The bench said the matter will be heard next on March 16. The bench said that, “Having heard senior advocate PS Patwalia, appearing on behalf of the petitioners and after perusing the averments made in the application for stay, we direct that the further proceedings pending before the Juvenile Justice Board at Kathua, titled as…shall remain stayed”.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference:

  • Case of The State of Jammu and Kashmir vs. Shubham Sangra, Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s).11220/2019, decided by the Supreme Court of India on February 07, 2020.
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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.