HC sets free “juvenile” life convict after eight-and-a-half years | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

HC sets free “juvenile” life convict after eight-and-a-half years

Jun 17, 2024 07:18 AM IST

Bombay High Court frees life convict after determining he was a minor at the time of murder on a train in 2015, ordering immediate release from jail.

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday set free a life convict after determining that he was a minor at the time of committing the murder within the jurisdiction of the Kurduwadi Government Railway Police. The convict had been imprisoned for around eight and a half years.

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“The applicant was aged 15 years and 11 months at the time when the incident took place. Thus, there is merit in the claim of the applicant that he was a juvenile at the time when the incident took place,” said the division bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Shyam C Chandak while ordering the release.

The incident occurred on December 20, 2015. The minor, along with an accomplice, assaulted another passenger while travelling from Pandharpur to Sangli on a train, eventually throwing the victim off the moving train. The minor was arrested shortly after the incident and has been incarcerated since.

On March 22, 2018, the Solapur Sessions Court convicted the minor of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The minor subsequently filed an appeal challenging his conviction and sentence.

In his pending appeal, the minor filed an application last year, seeking immediate release from jail, asserting his juvenile status at the time of the incident, which precluded his trial and sentencing as an adult. His lawyer, Anush Shetty, presented his birth certificate and school leaving certificate, both indicating his date of birth as January 7, 2000, proving he was under 16 at the time of the crime.

Responding to his plea, on February 6, 2024, the court directed additional public prosecutor PP Shinde to have the Government Railway Police verify the authenticity of the certificates. Assistant Police Inspector Dattaji Desai of the Kurduwadi GRP confirmed the certificates’ genuineness in a report submitted on May 8, 2024.

Given these findings, the bench ordered the immediate release of the juvenile from jail, emphasising that the plea of juvenility can be raised at any stage, even post-conviction.

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