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Kathua rape: Court orders bone ossification test to determine age of juvenile accused

PATHANKOT (PUNJAB)

A court here, hearing the Kathua gang rape-and-murder case, today issued directions for bone ossification test of one of the accused to determine his age after the defence counsel moved an application last week for treating him as a minor citing his matriculation certificate, lawyers said.

District and Sessions judge Tajwinder Singh issued the directions after hearing the arguments and counter-arguments over the issue of the age of Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, one of the eight accused in the brutal rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir in January, the lawyers said.

The Government Medical College hospital in Jammu would constitute a board to conduct bone ossification test of the accused to determine his age at the request of Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, R K Jalla, special public prosecutor J K Chopra said.

The court directed Jalla to supervise the medical examination and submit the report on July 2, a day after the court reopens after a 16-day summer break.

While seven of the accused including Kumar are facing trial in the court here on the directions of the Supreme Court, the eighth accused in the case is facing trial in a juvenile court in Kathua district.

His fate was yet to be decided after the crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police contested his claim that he was a minor.

Kumar’s lawyers moved an application in the court last week pleading before it that he be treated as a juvenile and produced his matriculation certificate which showed his date of birth as February 22, 2000 in support of the demand.

However, the prosecution objected to it and moved a supplementary application to seek a medical opinion after arguing that the accused was a major for all purposes and requested the court to take into consideration Supreme Court judgments in serious offences of this nature, the special public prosecutor told PTI.

He said there was only a difference of one month and a few days in his becoming a major and the date of the occurrence of the crime January 10.

Kumar’s lawyer Ankur Sharma argued that matriculation certificate was sufficient to prove the age of the accused. He said they had already submitted the matriculation certificate, state subject certificate and the verification report from the school authorities concerned.

The trial in the case began on May 31 with the seven accused being produced before the district and sessions judge after the Supreme Court transferred the case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab for a fair trial following a plea by the victim’s family.

While transferring the case from Kathua to Pathankot, about 30 km away, the apex court directed day-to-day in-camera trial in the case.

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