Fake school closure circular: Minors granted bail, incident sparks moral debate
The two minors sent to a juvenile home on Tuesday for allegedly circulating a fake school closure notice bearing the district magistrate’s signature were granted interim bail by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Wednesday.
On December 22, a circular was doing rounds on social media bearing the DM’s signature and stating that all public and private schools will remain shut on Monday and Tuesday due to the extreme cold conditions.
The DM later clarified that the circular was a fake and the schools would remain open.
On Monday, a team from the Noida crime branch had detained two minors for allegedly circulating the notice. They had allegedly photoshopped a previous circular and changed the dates.
Police said the boys wanted to enjoy two extra days of vacation and that was why they allegedly forged the notice. The minors are aged 17 years each and are class 12 students at a government school in Gautam Budh Nagar.
A case was registered at the sector 20 police station under sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating) and 500 (defamation) of the IPC and under relevant sections of the IT Act.
The two minor boys were later sent to a juvenile home on Tuesday.
Classmates and friends of the duo had protested outside the DM camp office on Tuesday, requesting that leniency be shown towards the students.
“The two were granted interim bail today in view of their pre-board exams,” said JJB member Aneet Bhagel.
The station house officer of sector 20 police station, Rajveer Singh Chauhan, wrote to the board to remove the IPC sections against the two boys.
“Investigation revealed that they did not have criminal intent and the circular did not affect any school or educational institution in the district. So, it is requested that the IPC sections against them be removed and the case be made only that of IT Act,” said the letter written by the SHO.
The case, however, sparked a moral debate over social media with people urging the district magistrate to show leniency towards the boys.
“We met the DM today to request that the boys not be punished severely for a prank,” said KK Jain, secretary general, Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations.
Residents took to Twitter to show their support for the boys and to request the authorities to be sympathetic with them.
Some people, however, agreed with the punishment, calling it a critical age for the boys.
The DM in a statement earlier had said that at the time of the registration of the FIR, the officials didn’t know that the perpetrators were minors and the FIR was needed to reach a logical conclusion.