New Delhi - An Indian court on Monday deferred until 19 August its verdict on the role of a juvenile accused in the Delhi gang-rape case following a direction by the Supreme Court, lawyers said.
A 23-year-old student was repeatedly raped and brutally beaten on a bus in New Delhi on 16 December and she died two weeks later. The crime made international headlines and led to a wave of protests across the country.
The Juvenile Justice Board had postponed the verdict since the Supreme Court had asked it not to pronounce its decision until it adjudicated on a petition linked to the case, defence lawyer Rajesh Tiwari said. This was the third time since July that the court has deferred its decision.
The petition by Subramanian Swamy, a lawyer and politician, has sought a fresh interpretation of the term juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act. It comes up for hearing on 14 August.
Swamy has challenged the age limit of 18 in the act. He wants a ruling from the top court that "mental and intellectual maturity" of an adolescent accused be considered instead of the age limit while fixing their culpability.
The juvenile, who turned 18 in June, was tried separately by the Juvenile Justice Board on charges including rape, murder and kidnapping. The teenager faces a maximum sentence of three years in a reform facility if found guilty.
Four other men are on trial in an adult criminal court and could face the death penalty if found guilty. A fifth accused was found hanged in his cell in March.