Supreme Court: Interim Bail granted to 13 Prisoners, Languishing in Jail for 14-22 years even after Proving to be Juvenile

Supreme court Law Insider IN
Supreme court Law Insider IN

Shivangi Prakash-

The Supreme Court granted interim bail to 13 offenders who have been held in Agra Jail for periods ranging from 14 to 22 years, despite showing that they were juveniles at the time of the act.

A bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V Ramasubramanain ordered, “It is not in dispute that 13 Petitioners have been held by Juvenile Justice Board as juveniles. Let interim bail be granted to them by presenting personal bonds”.

Interim bail can be given to the petitioners, according to Advocate Garima Prashad for the State of Uttar Pradesh, although specific facts must be verified.

 “The Allahabad HC had passed orders to identify the ones who had passed the age of juvenile. We have no objection with the bail, but we need to conduct verification”, the counsel for the State of UP said. She asked for two weeks to file a counter-affidavit.

The Petitioners’ advocate, Rishi Malhotra, said that this was a case of “illegal imprisonment.”

As per the plea, despite rulings by the Juvenile Justice Board under the Juvenile Justice Act that the Petitioners were juveniles because they were all under the age of 18, the State of Uttar Pradesh has failed to take any action to free them.

“Though in majority of their statutory criminal appeal are pending before the High Court against their conviction under various IPC offences, but the necessity and the need of hour is to direct immediate release of these Petitioners in view of the fact that not only they are declared juvenile but they have already undergone a maximum period of detention provided under Section 15 read with Section 16 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 viz. 3 years”, submits the plea.

The plea asserts that the Juvenile Justice Board had categorically held that the Petitioners were juveniles on the date of the incident, citing an order dated May 24, 2012, in which the Allahabad High Court directed the Juvenile Justice Board to hold an inquiry to determine the age of prisoners who were languishing in jail. They had been imprisoned for more than a decade despite this ruling.

Referring to the Juvenile Justice Board judgement, the petition has pleaded for the Petitioners’ immediate release, citing Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as guaranteeing the right to life and personal liberty.

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