Updated: August 17, 2021 9:02:06 am
A Delhi judge, while granting bail to a teenager caught breaking and entering into a house, observed that a “welfare state cannot withdraw its maternal embrace because a child, having just crossed to the wrong side of 18, has become definitionally non-suited to be treated as a child”.
The accused was caught by the owner of a house he allegedly entered in Southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh to commit theft in the early hours of June 30.
Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Gogne, in his order passed on August 13, said that while it appreciates the prayer for bail, it “wonders whether release on bail simpliciter would be justice to the plea”.
The judge, in this bail order, also called for a social investigation report to understand why the accused got involved in the first crime of his life.
After perusing the report, the court directed the accused to report to a de-addiction centre, and enrol with Project Avsar that offers counselling, training, and employment to undertrial prisoners.
“After all, a plea for bail is essentially rooted in the fundamental right to liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of the country… The court has thus wondered whether liberty without meaningful exercise of the same is liberty at all of the expanse contemplated by the Constitution,” the court said.
It said that the “perineal quest of a judge to understand the dispensation of meaningful justice leads the court, in this instance, to the Preamble which highlights the social and economic (apart from political) facets of justice”.
“The exercise of passing a just order in the case of young offenders, especially in the age group 18-20 years, entitled to be termed neo adults, must be visited with knowledge of their social and economic bearings. Only then would a court understand the circumstances which may have contributed to a first offence at the hands of a neo adult,” the court said.
It said that the “release on bail with such perspective would consequentially involve some measure of social and economic rehabilitation of these young alleged offenders and maybe prevent their deeper decline into frequent crime”.
The court said the applicant’s offence of housebreak and attempted theft may not really be dissimilar to a child in conflict with law who may be just a touch under 18 years of age. “This court felt that calling for a report akin to SIR (social investigation report) qua applicant would better inform the order to be passed upon his release on bail,” the court said.
It noted that the report has indeed “painted a vivid picture of the socialisation, disconcerting social engagement, and rank financial incapacity of the accused and his family”.
“The data from the report is quite incisive. It would, therefore, not be a case of conjecture and surmises for the court to prima facie express that the want of one parent, a low family income, early dropout from school, drug use among peer group, and the possible drug use by the applicant himself may have together propelled him to allegedly have committed the house break and attempted theft,” the court said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.