A 20-year-old has moved the Supreme Court seeking bail cancellation of his father, who is serving 10 years of rigorous imprisonment along with his second wife for beating and leaving him with physical deformities.
The couple was given bail by the High Court in August 2016 on medical grounds, and were also allowed to travel abroad. Aggrieved by the High Court’s decision, the 20-year-old, who now lives with his grandparents, urged the Supreme Court through his counsel R K Singh that the delay in challenging the order be condoned and his father’s bail be cancelled immediately.
The apex court bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice R Subhash Reddy has issued notice to the Delhi Police and the man’s father, seeking to know why bail should not be cancelled.
As per court records, the 20-year-old was tortured for 10 years by his father, former Army Major Lalit Balhara, and stepmother Preeti. The trial court had held the two guilty of beating him and trying to kill him after his mother, herself an Army captain, died in 2000.
The man told the Supreme Court that the abuse began when he was only three years old. Advocate Singh told the top court: “Of late, baby battering incidents have raised their ugly heads in India.”
“In Western countries, such offences against children by their parents are taken very seriously and harsh sentence are awarded to perpetrators,” the plea said.
The youth’s counsel told The Indian Express that they will also seek cancellation of the stepmother’s bail. He was first brought to the hospital on April 25, 2002, at the age of three after he was allegedly fed insecticide. In the weeks and months ahead, he was repeatedly admitted for treatment of various injuries, ranging from fractures to a bleeding skull and smashed teeth.
The Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet against the couple for attempt to murder in 2009, four years after the Delhi High Court ordered a probe into the case.
Sentencing the couple in 2012, the trial court judge had described them as “monsters and butchers” and had said that both the accused were “highly educated and knew the distinction between right and wrong, lawful and unlawful” and yet they “systematically and meticulously” continued with the crime.
The court had given custody of the child to his maternal grandparents in 2005.
During trial, the boy had testified before court that he was often beaten, locked up in a room and denied food.
Medical reports had held that he suffers from “battered baby syndrome”, with physical and neurological damage caused due to the abuse.