21 Aug 2023 4:30 AM GMT
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that the argument that the parents of the juvenile who is accused of a heinous crime do not have control over her as she was out of home at odd hours, cannot be a valid ground to reject bail.Justice Deepak Gupta thus released the petitioner on bail citing that the lower court had erred in dismissing her bail application. “The declining of bail...
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that the argument that the parents of the juvenile who is accused of a heinous crime do not have control over her as she was out of home at odd hours, cannot be a valid ground to reject bail.
Justice Deepak Gupta thus released the petitioner on bail citing that the lower court had erred in dismissing her bail application.
“The declining of bail by the Courts below to the petitioner juvenile ‘S’ is not justified by observing that parents of the petitioner do not have control over her as she was out of home at odd hours. This in itself cannot be a reason to conclude that her release was likely to expose her moral or physical danger.”
The Court was hearing a bail plea moved by a juvenile accused of murdering two policemen along with other accused in 2020 in Sonipat.
It was alleged that the juvenile, who was then 16 years old, went out with her friends at night. Later, they were found in an objectionable position at the corner of a road with her alleged partner. While patrolling around 2 AM, two policemen arrived and began inquiring. The juvenile told her friends that they were from her village and knew her. Consequently, she, along with other co-accused who were with her, attacked the policemen, and co-accused Amit stabbed them to death.
On the other hand, the counsel representing the juvenile contended that the policemen were drunk and molested her and another female friend who was accompanying them. Thus, in the heat of the moment and to protect the girls, Amit injured the policemen. However, on the next day Amit was killed in a fake encounter, he added.
Considering the submissions, the Court said,
“There can be no doubt that the offence of murder is a heinous crime. However, Section 12 of the Act, 2015 contains a mandate to release a child on bail, when he is apprehended or detained in connection with an offence. It is a special provision, which stands to the exclusion of Code of Criminal Procedure.”
Parameters for considering a bail application filed by a juvenile under Section 12 of the Act are clearly distinguishable from the application filed under Section 439 Cr.P.C. Even after a juvenile is to be tried as an adult, still his bail is to be considered under the parameters provided under Section 12 of the Act, added the Court.
Justice Gupta said,
“ The allegations of the petitioner ‘S’ to the effect that she has been raped by the police officials and that her cousin Asha has been molested, is a subject matter of separate trial arising out of FIR No.65 dated 30.07.2020 registered at Police Station Women, Sonipat and since that alleged occurrence took place after the present occurrence of killing of two police officials, the same cannot be connected with present case, except to the extent that as per petitioner, she was taken to the police station by her mother, to tell that how two police officials were killed by Amit. Again, it is a matter of trial.”
Adding that the petitioner was out at odd hours cannot be a reason to conclude that her release was likely to expose her moral or physical danger, the Court said,
“Without considering the role of the petitioner in crime, it was not at all proper to observe that because of the murder of two police officials, her release will defeat the ends of justice.”
The Court observed that, No report whatsoever was obtained regarding the character or the criminal antecedents of the petitioner and so, the observation of ASJ, Sonipat in the impugned order that the release of the petitioner will cause much harm to her, “appears to be based on conjectures and surmises.”
When the matter was considered on merits, it was found that the case was dependent upon circumstantial evidence, mainly upon disclosure statements.
The juvenile was arrested based on a disclosure statement of co-accused Sandeep. It is not a prosecution allegation that she used the knife or any other weapon to kill the two police officials, the Court noted further.
Consequently, the Court granted bail to the juvenile. The petitioner, who by now had attained majority, was directed to be released on regular bail on her furnishing bail bonds/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the Trial Court/Duty Magistrate.
Case Title: S through her mother K v. State of Haryana
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (PH) 146
R.S. Bains, Senior Advocate with Mr.M.S. Chauhan, Advocate appeared for the petitioner (in CRR-1261-2020)
Parveen Kumar Aggarwal, DAG, Haryana for State.
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