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Mercedes hit-and-run case: Minor can be bailed without plea, says court

Upholding the bail granted to the minor accused of running his father’s Mercedes over a man in April, the court said as per the Juvenile Justice Act, the minor’s welfare should be kept in mind while dealing with a matter relating to him.

delhi Updated: May 25, 2016 18:08 IST
Delhi road rage,Mercedes hit-and-run,Sidharth Sharma
The Mercedes car outside Civil Lines Police station was reportedly run over Siddharth Sharma by a teen while he was crossing the road in New Delhi on April 4 night.(HT file photo)

A Delhi court on Wednesday upheld the bail granted to a youth accused in the Mercedes hit-and-run case in which a marketing executive Siddharth Sharma was killed. The court said, the Juvenile Justice Board can decide over how long a minor offender has to be kept in the reform home and no application is required for his or her release.

Upholding the bail granted to the minor accused of running his father’s Mercedes over a man last month, the court said as per the Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children), the minor’s welfare should be kept in mind while dealing with a matter relating to him.

The accused teenager had allegedly run over his father’s Mercedes over a 32-year-old marketing executive, Siddharth Sharma on April 4. Sharma, who was trying to cross a road near Ludlow Castle School in north Delhi, had died in the accident.

Additional sessions judge Arvind Kumar rejected the contention of counsel for victim’s family and the Delhi Police that the board granted bail to the boy, who recently turned major, even without any application being filed by him.

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“It is clear from bare reading of Section 12 (of the Act) that no application is required for release of the child and the discretion lies with the board regarding release of the CCL (child in conflict with law).

“It is for the board to decide as to how long the child should be kept in the observation home. Therefore, contentions of counsel for appellant (victim’s family) that application for bail is necessary condition for releasing the CCL on bail, is without any merit,” the court said.

“I do not find any irregularity, infirmity or illegality in the (JJB) order of April 26. There is no merit in the appeal and same is dismissed,” the judge said.

As per section 12 of the Act any person who is apparently a child and alleged to have committed a bailable or non- bailable offence be released on bail with or without surety or be placed under supervision of probation officer.

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It also provides that such person would not be released if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the release is likely to bring him into association with any criminal.

While upholding the JJB’s order, the court said it was clear from the scheme of Act that it was for the board to consider how long institutionalised training is necessary for the child.

It said the boy has to pursue his education which would have reformative effect and would help him in developing better understanding and his rehabilitation.

The court noted that the board has put adequate conditions while granting him bail and had ensured that boy does not take to wheels before attaining majority and before getting driving licence.

Family members and friends of Sidharth Sharma during a protest for justice at Central Park in Connaught Place, New Delhi on April 10, 2016. (HT file photo)

JJB has said that the boy and his parents would attend counselling sessions as and when required by the psychologist/ counsellor attached with the board.

Initially, a case under IPC sections 304 A (causing death by rash or negligent act), 279 (driving on a public way so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life) and 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers human life) was lodged against him.

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The board had on April 26 granted bail to the youth who had sought the relief to appear in entrance examinations.

Later on, the police booked the juvenile for the alleged offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and he was sent to the reform home.

The police had earlier arrested a man who claimed to be the actual driver of the Mercedes at the time of the incident but did a volte-face after he got to know the victim was dead.

The driver and the boy’s father, who was also arrested earlier, were granted bail by the court.

The youth had appeared before a Delhi court to surrender and moved a bail plea which was rejected on the ground that it was a matter of JJB. He was then produced before the board.

First Published: May 25, 2016 18:08 IST