Srinagar, April 21: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Wednesday dismissed bail plea by a minor, arrested by the Police in connection with the acid attack on a 24-year-old woman here in February this year.
“The Board is not inclined to grant bail to the Applicant/ CICL (Child in Conflict with Law) at this stage,” said the JJB comprising Touseef Ahmad Magray (Principal Magistrate) and two members—Dr. Khair Ul Nisa and Dr. Asima Hassan respectively.
“Taking into the considerations the nature and gravity of allegations and overall circumstances, Board is of the opinion that release at this stage of CICL on bail would certainly defeat the Ends of Justice,” the JJB said, adding, “Accordingly the instant bail application is dismissed and shall be attached with Final Report of the instant case.”
On February 23, police had filed a 1000-page charge sheet against two adult accused, identified as Sajid Altaf Rather of Buchwara Dalgate and Mohammad Saleem Kumar alias Tota of Mehjoornagar, before Chief Judicial Magistrate. A similar charge sheet was filed against the minor before the Juvenile Justice Board with an additional application that he be treated as an adult under the amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, whereby youngsters in the age group of 16-18 can be tried under Indian Penal Code (IPC) if they are accused of heinous crimes.
“In the instant case alleged act of CICL wherein he accompanied the main accused (Sajid) to commit the alleged crime and post occurrence behaviour of CICL, all point out to the fact that CICL needs reformation of highest degree so as to make him understand that the norms of society and laws of land are to be adhered to,” the JJB said as per GNS, adding, “The release at this juncture of CICL on bail will not serve the ends of justice.”
Rather, the JJB said, his placement at Observation Home, Harwan, Srinagar “is in his best interest at this juncture as he has shown signs of reformation which shall continue for the time being.”
The CICL was arrested on 2 February 2022 by Police, less than 24 hours after the incident which took place at 7:30 p.m. on February 1, and since then he has been languishing in Observation Home, Harwan Srinagar.
His counsel submitted that the Principle of presumption of innocence is recognized as a “fundamental principle” by the J.J Act 2015 and accordingly it shall be presumed that the Juvenile is innocent of any malafide or criminal intent.
Therefore, he said, the CICL has a right to be treated in accordance with this presumption. “The CICL is a student and is studying in Class 8th and his studies are getting marred because of continued incarceration,” he submitted. His continuous confinement, the counsel said, will be detrimental to his studies. “A chance to learn in person at the school will create a favourable environment for the CICL, allowing for the Juvenile’s reformation and recreation,” the counsel submitted.
Prosecution on the other hand resisted the plea with Additional Public Prosecutor contending that the CICL was involved in the commission of a non-bailable offence and cannot claim bail as a matter of right. “The CICL is involved in the commission of a heinous offence under Section 2 (33) JJ Act 2015. (He) has committed and actively aided in the commission of this horrendous act which shows depravity of mind and cannot be treated as an act which can be dubbed as a child’s mistake during youth hood,” the AAP said, adding, “It is a ghastly act done with passion to ravish the life of the victim. The CICL, if released, the AAP said, would certainly expose him to “moral, physical or psychological danger.” It is pertinent to mention the fact that the rage in society against the offender is simmering, so his physical safety is best possible at the observation home as his release would expose him to physical injury or even mob-lynching, which may be carried by the relatives or friends of the victim or other anti-social elements in the society who may take law in their own hands, the AAP said. “His release would also defeat the ends of justice as the victims family would be psychologically affected by the decision as they are already devastated by the offence committed against the victim,” he said.