New Delhi: A Delhi court ruled Monday that the juvenile who was involved in a Mercedes hit-and-run, which killed 32-year-old Siddharth Sharma, will be tried as an adult.
The court’s order comes three years after the youth ran over Sharma in his speeding Mercedes in the national capital on 4 April 2016, just four days shy of his 18th birthday.
On Monday, the court dismissed the boy’s plea to be tried as a juvenile. He is 21 now.
Amendment to Act
According to the amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act — which was brought into force in January 2016 — the Juvenile Justice Board has the discretion to decide if a youth who has committed a heinous crime will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
The sessions court, however, is the final authority to make the decision.
A heinous crime is one where the minimum mandatory sentence is seven years.
In June 2016, the Juvenile Justice Board had ruled that the juvenile in the hit-and-run case would be tried as an adult. In its five-page order, the board observed that the youth was aware of the consequences of his actions and was in “no manner lacking in mental and physical capacity to commit the offence”.
The board relied on the youth’s history of driving violations and noted that he had been fined thrice already for breaking traffic rules.
It also observed that the youth failed to slow down even as the co-passengers in the car sounded warnings.
“The CCL (child in conflict with law) did not stop after the accident. Rather he fled from the spot to avoid getting caught for his misdeed,” the order said.
In a chargesheet filed against the youth’s parents and the driver, the Delhi Police in May 2017 said, “JCL (Juvenile in Conflict with law) was a repeat offender and he had been driving this vehicle with consent of his parents who intentionally aided by illegal omission by allowing their minor son to drive the offending car who drove it dangerously by over-speeding the vehicle and in this way did an act with the knowledge that he is likely to cause death by such act which ultimately culminated in death of pedestrian Siddharth Sharma.”
This report has been updated to accurately reflect that this is not the first time a juvenile will be tried as an adult since the amendment of the Juvenile Justice Act in 2016.