The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Police for delaying the age verification of an accused, which led to his continued custody despite being granted bail.
The Magistrate had granted bail to the accused on May 23 on condition to furnish surety of Rs 25,000. If major, the accused has to furnish the surety to the Magistrate and if minor, he has to furnish the surety to the juvenile court. Since the police did not verify the age of the accused, surety could not be furnished, resulting in the accused remaining in jail.
In such circumstances, the accused approached the Delhi High Court filing a contempt petition. The Police told the Court that the age verification is taking time, as the accused belonged to Bihar and the school records have to be verified for ascertaning the age. A bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad was told that a police officer has gone to Patna to reach the school of the accused, which is situated in a small village.
Displeased at this state of affairs, Justice Prasad said :
"This is illegal detention. He already has a bail order in his favour. We know how fast the police can act when they want to. Just because he's poor, he's being given step-motherly treatment? A powerful person could have paid for the ticket and gotten the verification done in half a day".
Justice Prasad did not mince words in clarifying that he wants the release order issued today itself.
"I want the release order to be issued this evening. Get your instructions through telephonic conversations. Come back at 2.30 P.M. to report on what the status is. I want this to be done today".
When the matter was taken again at the evening, the bench was informed that the age of the accused has been verified and he is a minor, and a verification report has been sent to Tihar Jail so the surety can be deposited by the accused to the Jail Superintendent. The accused will be released by tomorrow.