Kasabís juvenile plea falls flat in court
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Says he's a minor; court sees attempt to delay trial
After being in custody for over five months, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested for 26/11 Mumbai attacks, claimed on Friday that he was a minor and he should be tried in a juvenile court, not in the special sessions court.
Kasab's newly-appointed lawyer Abbas Kazmi moved an application before the court after taking instructions from him, stating that Kasab was 17 at the time of the attack. He further stated that the ongoing trial is illegal as per the Juvenile Justice Act, as a minor has to be tried in a juvenile court and not in a sessions court, no matter how serious the offences are. If he is tried in a sessions court, then it would be bad in law and a violation of fundamental rights of the accused, and hence the case should be transferred, the plea said.
Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam strongly opposed the application, stating that Kasab was not a minor. He stated as per the chargesheet and his confessional statement, his date of birth is September 13, 1987. Accordingly, he was over 21. Kasab himself told this to Arthur Road jail authorities when he was remanded in judicial custody and sent there on February 17, Nikam said.
Special Judge ML Tahilyani then directed Kasab to stand in the dock and observed, "prima facie it appears that the accused is a major and though there are medical tests available to check the age of the accused, in this case since the accused has not produced any documentary evidence to prove his age, since the application is merely based on oral claims of the accused, it can be noted that it's a frivolous plea and made with an intention to protract the trial. Thus, considering the facts, the court rejected the plea, but ordered that in future if the issue crops up again with necessary substantiation, then the medical procedure could be followed.
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