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Bihar: Juvenile board lets off boy for ‘attempting to murder’ 29-year-old

The Juvenile Justice Board asked police authorities to send two officers who handled the case for training on dealing with juvenile crimes “so that they do not repeat such blunders in the future”.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 20:48 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Juvenile Justice Board,Bihar police,Juvenile Justice Act
Under Indian law, anyone under 18 years of age are tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. The JJB, however, has the power to decide if a minor can be tried as an adult in case of serious crimes.(Shutterstock)

The Juvenile Justice Board has absolved an 8-year-old accused of attempt to murder a 29-year-old man in Bihar’s Nalanda, and also severely reprimanded the police for slapping such grave charges against the minor without verifying his age.

The board also asked police authorities to send two officers who handled the case for training on dealing with juvenile crimes “so that they do not repeat such blunders in the future”, a JJB official said on Friday.

Under Indian law, anyone under 18 years of age are tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. The JJB, however, has the power to decide if a minor can be tried as an adult in case of serious crimes.

The case was registered on August 17, 2017, Shrawan Kumar Sao alleged that two people -- Rahul Kumar and Buta Paswan -- attacked him with bricks and stones, leaving him injured.

In an FIR filed with Nalanda’s Deepnagar police, he said some children while playing began quarrelling with his son.

When he intervened and tried to separate them, Buta Paswan, a teenager, began pelting stones at him before he fled away. Sao suffered a minor head injury in the incident.

Later, on the basis of few local residents who were witness to the incident, he lodged a complaint with police accusing Paswan and Rahul of attacking him with a motive to kill. He had neither seen Rahul then nor did he know his age. Rahul was only eight then.

During investigation, the police too did not identify the accused properly, JJB officials said.

Without mentioning the age of the accused, the investigating officer (IO) Rakesh Ranjan in his case diary said Sao received a minor injury and no one was witness to the incident. The circle inspector of Giryak, who supervised the case later, too failed to mention the accused’s age.

The chief judicial magistrate of Biharsharief after finding it to be a case involving children referred it to the JJB on August 23.

During investigation, when JJB officials approached headmaster of the Oknawan middle school for date of birth certificates of Rahul, they were shocked to find that he is only 8-year-old.

The JJB took cognisance on January 23 against Rahul, who refused the allegation during trail and demanded a thorough probe. The prosecution called the complainant, who had no witnesses to substantiate his allegation. He told the JJB that he had not written the FIR.

“The police station munsi (clerk) had written the FIR and I had only signed on it,” he was qouted as saying.

The three-member JJB comprising Sanjay Kumar, Dr Asha Prasad and principal member Manvendra Mishra acquitted the minor in the absence of evidence and subsequently asked the DGP to issue directions to all SPs to send officers dealing with juvenile crimes for proper training.

“While the officers involved in investigation of the case deserves to be penalised for showing laxity and dereliction of duty, we are excusing them as we are already burdened with lakhs of cases,” the JJB said in a letter sent to the DG (Training). The JJB also asked him to put the two officers through grueling training on how to deal with juvenile crimes so that they do not repeat such blunders in future.

Psychiatrists in Patna said that 8 to 10 year-old-children where still learning to relate to peers, adjust to social rules and evolve from free play to more elaborately structured interactions and expectations.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 20:40 IST