Court rejects the bail plea of teenager suspected of murdering his schoolmateUpdated: Jun 30, 2020 23:45 IST
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday dismissed the bail petition of a teenager accused of slitting the throat of a Class 2 student of a private school in Gurugram in September 2017. The court upheld the orders passed earlier by children sessions court and Juvenile Justice Board(JJB) that rejected the regular bail applications of the suspect.
A bench comprising Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan has observed in a 31-page judgment that several witnesses in the case are minor, including the sister of the deceased, and therefore the possibility of tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out. The bench also observed that the suspect must be treated as an adult as per the order of the Supreme Court passed on February 22, 2019, and there is a little scope for the court to grant the concession of bail. “The heinous crime has been committed and therefore the court is declining the bail(sic),” stated the order.
This was the 16th time that bail was denied to the teenaged suspect within the last 28 months. Earlier in May 2019, he was shifted from an observation home in Faridabad to a ‘place of safety’ in Madhuban, Karnal.
The court also stated that the delay in the trial is attributable to the suspect and that it cannot be a ground on which bail can be granted.
The father of the 18-year-old, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident, had filed an application on November 20, 2018, seeking a regular bail for his son and on June 8, 2020, filed another application, stating that his son has already suffered incarceration for over two years and six months. “If he, after preliminary assessment is treated as a juvenile for the purpose of the Act and offence, the maximum sentence that can be imposed upon him is three years. In such a situation, considering that he has already undergone two years and six months, no useful purpose would be served by his continued incarceration and the same would be a violation of his fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India (sic),” stated the application filed by the father.
The counsel for the suspect argued that the trial has not started due to the status quo order passed by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, a further delay in the conclusion of the trial is inevitable, since the prosecution has sought to examine 127 witnesses on its behalf. Further investigation is still underway and the courts are functioning only to a limited extent due to outbreak of Covid-19. This is a ground for the grant of bail to ensure that the suspect does not “unjustly languish” in custody any more, argued the counsel of the teenage suspect.
After hearing the arguments of both sides, judge Arvind Singh Sangwan dismissed the bail application. “The arguments raised by learned senior counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner is not kept in a congenial atmosphere at Children’s Home and is facing medical problem, are not proved from the two reports of the Medical Board stating that the petitioner is not facing any serious problem/illness and rather it is noticed that the petitioner is gaining weight (sic),” stated the order.
Sushil Tekriwal, counsel for the father of the victim, said that the rejection of bail in the case will make it stronger and ensure justice. “Granting bail can hamper the case and can turn witnesses hostile. The witnesses who are minor, including sister of the deceased, are also at risk if the suspect is granted bail. This is our major concern as trial is yet to begin,” he said.
The father of the victim said they have been demanding speedy trial but despite the passage of over two years, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has not been able to file the supplementary charge sheet necessary for the trail to begin.