The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) be informed not to pronounce its verdict on the alleged role of a minor in the December 16 gangrape and murder case, till it decides a PIL seeking fresh interpretation of the term 'juvenile'.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam asked Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy to inform the JJB on this issue and posted his case for hearing on August 14.
Advocate Anoop Bhambani, appearing for the juvenile, opposed Swamy's plea and sought more time to file response to his petition.
The Centre also opposed Swamy's plea, saying a third party should not intervene in a criminal case and any decision taken by the apex court in this case cannot be applied retrospectively.
The bench, however, said the issue raised in the petition needs to be examined along with maintainability of the plea.
Swamy has sought that the "mental and intellectual maturity" of minor offenders be considered instead of the age limit of 18 years while fixing their culpability.
After the apex court had on July 23 agreed to hear his plea, the JJB had deferred till August 5 the pronouncement of its verdict on the alleged involvement of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gangrape and murder case.
The juvenile was one of six persons who had gangraped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus here, according to the prosecution. The victim died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Of the other five accused, four--Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur--are facing trial before a fast track court. Proceedings against key accused Ram Singh abated after his death on March 11 when he was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail here.
The JJB has already convicted the juvenile for robbing carpenter Ram Adhar with the other adult co-accused by luring him into the same bus in which the girl was gangraped and assaulted.
The board, however, has also deferred till August 5 the pronouncement of sentence in the robbery case.