Uttarakhand High Court Halts JJB Proceedings in Hyatt Hotel Rape Case Due to Minor’s Reported unsound mind

The Uttarakhand High Court has intervened in legal proceedings related to a rape case involving a minor believed to be of unsound mind. The incident, which occurred in 2022, involved a 15-year-old boy accused of raping a female staff member at the Hyatt Hotel in Dehradun. The court’s decision to suspend the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) proceedings came after a revision petition challenged the JJB’s refusal to discharge the juvenile, citing Sections 328 and 330 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which pertain to the procedure for accused individuals with mental health issues.

Justice Pankaj Purohit issued the order after considering the revision petition. The court has summoned the JJB records and scheduled a further hearing for April 16. In the meantime, the proceedings before the JJB in connection with this case will remain on hold.

The rape case was initially reported at the Rajpur Police Station in 2022, alleging that the incident occurred at the Hyatt Hotel in Dehradun. Subsequently, a 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the crime. Due to concerns about the minor’s mental health, a medical panel was established at the behest of the JJB to assess the boy’s condition and his ability to participate in the trial. The medical board concluded that the accused was of “unsound mind” with a borderline mental disability and psychosis, rendering him unable to defend himself adequately.

Despite efforts to secure the minor’s discharge under the relevant CrPC provisions, the JJB denied the request and instead ordered the production of the accused for the framing of notice. This decision prompted a legal challenge in the High Court by the accused minor’s father. The minor’s counsel, Ravi Sharma, argued that the JJB should not have directed the accused boy’s production, considering the medical panel’s report indicating his unsound mind.

It was revealed in court that the JJB suggested recording the minor’s statement in the presence of a parent to accommodate his unsoundness. However, the minor’s counsel argued that having a parent present during the proceedings would not significantly aid the minor in defending himself.

Taking these arguments into account, the High Court accepted the revision petition and temporarily suspended the proceedings before the JJB. Legal representation for the juvenile accused included advocates Ravi Sharma, Abhimanshu Dhyani, Sahil Modi, and Anjani Kumar Rai. Deputy Advocate General Deepak Bisht, along with Mamta Joshi, represented the State in this case.