Updated: September 9, 2021 7:58:41 am
A special court on Wednesday allowed bail to a 19-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, who were booked as minors in 2019 for the murder of a 59-year-old guitarist. They had spent nearly two years in an Observation Home without a trial.
The children’s court allowed the bail pleas of the duo with conditions, including that their respective parents will look after them and “keep them away from the company of known criminals”. The two were sent to the Observation Home after the police claimed they were involved in the alleged murder of a man whose dismembered body was found stuffed in a suitcase in Mahim.
In their bail applications argued by lawyers Maharukh Adenwalla and Manpreet Kaur Bhagal, it was submitted to the court that the duo were minors at the time of the alleged incident and had already spent two years at the Home. It was also submitted that as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act’s Section 12, children in conflict with law were to be considered for bail unless there were reasonable grounds that their release was likely to bring them into association with any known criminal or expose them to “moral, physical or psychological danger” or that their release would defeat the “ends of justice”. It was submitted that these grounds were not made out against the “two children” in the present case.
It was also submitted that the two were being supervised by an NGO working with children and that they had shown positive rehabilitation. It was submitted that the duo was engaged in their studies and had a clear future planned ahead. It was also submitted that the reports from the Home showed that there were no complaints about them and that they had participated in various activities related to education, vocational training as well as extra-curricular events planned at the Home. It was also submitted that they were regularly undergoing counselling with the NGO.
The police had opposed their bail on grounds of the seriousness of the crime. Among the reasons cited by the police in their chargesheet was that the alleged murder took place as the man would sexually abuse the minor girl.
The duo was among around 11 children in the city who were waiting to be produced before the court, with trials stalled due to the pandemic-induced lockdown. The two were referred to be tried before the court as part of the amended JJ Act which allows for children between the age group of 16 and 18 to be tried as “adults”.
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