New Delhi: An accused in the 2018 Kathua gangrape and murder case will be tried afresh as an adult. The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the orders of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Kathua and the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which had treated the accused as juveniles for trial. Justice JB Pronouncing the verdict, Pardiwala directed the accused Shubham Sangra to be tried as an adult. This decision of the apex court has come on an appeal by the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir challenging the orders passed by the CJM and the High Court. The court said that the estimate of the medical expert about the age of the accused is not a legal substitute for evidence and is only an opinion.
The accused was arrested in 2019 in connection with the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua village. In June 2019, a special court in Pathankot sentenced three people to life imprisonment in the case. Justice Pardiwala while delivering the judgment said, “We are setting aside the judgments of the CJM Kathua and the High Court… The accused was not a minor at the time of the offence.”
In 2018, the girl was raped in Kathua village. In June 2019, a special court sentenced three people to life imprisonment in the case and five years to three police officers for destroying evidence. However, the trial against one of the accused was shifted to the Juvenile Justice Board.