Though it might be difficult to imagine a child barely four years of age indulging in assault or misbehaving with a woman, Bihar Police has booked a number of kids for such crimes, even as shocked courts question their investigation.
Bimal Kumari and Kamal Kumari, now six and eight, have been charged by the Bhojpur district police under Sections 448, 323, 504 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for assault, loot and abuse after two years of investigations.
The charges against the two sisters as well as their parents followed a complaint in 2002 by a woman, Prabhavati of Lehri Tiwaridih village, which falls under the Piro police station.
When they were named accused in the criminal case in January 2002, Bimal was barely two years and Kamal was four.
When the sisters and their parents approached a court here last week for bail, the judge was shocked and questioned if the young children could really be behind the crimes they are alleged to have committed.
Police, however, insisted that according to their investigations, the children were indeed culprits.
The court has granted them bail.
"This case speak volumes on the sensitivity of police that can charge sheet even young minors who cannot possibly have committed assault," said the lawyer of the two sisters.
For the Bihar police, it was not a first case of its kind.
Only a month ago, a Patna court was shocked to hear the case of Raj Kumar, five, charged for not only assaulting a woman but also attempting to molest her.
Raj Kumar, his father Kedar Prasad and his mother face charges under sections 323, 352, 504 and 554 of the IPC following a complaint two years ago by a woman.
The woman alleged that the boy, who was then aged two and half years, had along with his parents and others assaulted her, attempted to molest her and also misbehaved with her.
Judicial Magistrate Saheb Kausher ordered an inquiry to ascertain the age of Raj Kumar. Later the court quashed charges against him.
About two months ago, police in Sasaram in Rohtas district booked a five-year-old boy on charges of pick-pocketing. When it was found that the boy was not a pickpocket, the court ordered the police official responsible for his custody to pay him compensation and also apologise to him.
Early this year, Rani Pandey, six, was charged by Bhojpur district police for attacking them and helping her father escape from the police custody.