This is the first life term to minors in Madhya Pradesh under the amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. Judge AA Khan of a sessions court in Jhabua also fined the duo — aged 17 and 16 — Rs 10,000 each. They were convicted for murdering a Class IX student, Radhu Singh, on December 5, 2016.
“No doubt, this is the first judgment under amended Juvenile Justice Act. This may well be the first case in the country where minors were awarded life term because their crime was so heinous that they were tried as adults,” Jhabua SP Mahesh Chandra Jain told TOI.
According to Section 15 of the Act, in case a heinous offence is alleged to have been committed by a child of 16 years or above, the juvenile board shall conduct a preliminary assessment of the suspect’s mental and physical capacity to commit such a crime, ability to understand the consequences and the circumstances in which the offence was committed, and decide whether they may be tried as adult under Section 18 (3). If yes, the case may be transferred to a children’s court with jurisdiction to try such offences.
Jain said the “landmark judgment” came within 53 days of the crime. The case was moved before the trial court on January 6, 2017. Jhabua district public prosecution officer Saubhagya Singh Khinchi produced 12 witnesses over 22 days of hearing.