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‘Education cannot be discontinued’: Bombay HC grants bail to juvenile accused of gang-raping minor

The Bombay Supreme Court has granted bail to a man arrested two years ago in a gang rape case when he was a minor, noting that he has responded positively to rehabilitation efforts.

The court noted: “He deserves to be reunited and reinstated with his family and it would be in his best interest so that he can fully develop. With the principle of the ‘presumption of innocence’ contained in Article 3 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, he is presumed innocent until convicted.”

The minor was arrested along with 5 adults charged with gang rape of a 7-year-old minor girl in a case registered with the MHB Colony Police Station in Mumbai in 2020.

While granting bail, Judge Bharti Dangre noted that the education of the accused, who is now an adult, cannot be stopped any further. “The applicant has responded positively to the rehabilitation efforts, while staying at the Observation Home, which is in compliance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015.”

Judge Dangre stressed that he deserves to be released on bail by invoking the principle of repatriation and restoration to the same socio-economic and cultural status as the applicant before committing the alleged crime.

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“The allegations facing the applicant are undisputedly serious, but he must also benefit from being a ‘child’, despite being tried as an adult and benefiting from Article 12 of the juvenile criminal justice (care and protection of children), 2015 cannot be denied him,” according to the bank.

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The minor accused was booked under provisions for gang rape, criminal assault, stalking, criminal harassment under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Child Protection Against Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO). In 2021, charges were filed against him with the Juvenile Justice Board.

The Council has twice rejected his bail request and, after a preliminary assessment, has come to the conclusion that the trial against him can be transferred to the Children’s Court. After the proceedings were transferred, the applicant requested bail under Article 12 of the Youth Act (care and protection of children). The Special Court also rejected his bail request, noting that if he is released on bail, he may contact the victim and harm her.

YOUTH NO DANGER TO SOCIETY

Against this order, the accused came before the High Court and asked for bail. Lawyer Maharukh Adenwala who appeared before the accused pointed out that he poses no danger to society. Adenwala pointed to the Child Guidance Clinic (CGC), which reported that he has good potential to excel if given the right opportunities, guidance, support and education.

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Adenwala also pointed out that the suspect had been deprived of his education and that his long detention in the Observation Home had disrupted his life. She also pointed out that an NGO ‘Ashiyana Foundation’ had mentored him and was ready to rehabilitate him. His uncle was willing to take him in and keep him in his house in Mumbai.

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OPPOSITE TO Bail

Additional prosecutor AA Takalkar pointed out that the opposition to bail was the basis of the nature of the offense committed by the accused. The suspect’s bail request was also opposed by lawyer Saveena Bedi Sachar, who was acting for the victim’s father. She pointed out that the crime was horrific and that the suspect does not deserve to be released.

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