The Delhi High Court Monday quashed the death sentence awarded to an accused by a trial court for raping and killing a minor girl, saying he was a juvenile when he committed the offence.
A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.P. Garg relied on the report of a medical board of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and allowed the claim of the accused that he was a juvenile when he committed the offence and the conviction against him was illegal.
"If we go by the medical opinion, the appellant on the said date (Aug 14, 2007) could be between the age of 17 to 20 years of age," the bench said.
"The appellant could have been a juvenile or less than 18 years age when the alleged offence was committed," the court said.
"We accept the application and hold that the appellant was a juvenile on the date of committal of offence. Accordingly, the conviction and sentence of the appellant is set aside," he said.
However, the court ordered that the accused would remain in jail and his case would be dealt by the Juvenile Justice Board under the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act.
The trial court in February awarded him a death penalty.
The accused, a resident of Rohini, lured away a six-and-half year old girl, his neighbour, and raped her before brutally beating her and strangling her to death. He later chopped off one of her forearms, police said.