The single bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court denied the bail plea of a student XII a minor and accused in the 2017 Ryan School Murder Case. Further, the bench stated that the benefit of bail to a juvenile, under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 could not be given to the accused for a such heinous crime, as the SC had directed to treat him as an “Adult” for the purposes of a trial.
“Though it is a well-settled principle of law that an application for bail filed by a person who is above of 16 years of age and is alleged to have committed a heinous crime as per Section 2(33) of the Act, pending preliminary assessment by the Board, can be allowed, however, this court is not inclined to grant any relief to the petitioner, in view of the order dated 28.02.2019 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, directing that for deciding the bail application, the petitioner be treated as an “Adult”, therefore, there is little scope for this court to find out whether the petitioner can be granted the relief under Section 12 of the Act,” the High Court observed.
On 8th September 2017, there was a murder of a child who studied in class II named Prince (Fictitious name given by SC to hide the identity) his body was recovered from the washroom of the Ryan International School, Gurugram, Haryana. In the initial investigation, the bus conductor was incarcerated for slitting the throat of a 7-year-old. Further when the case was transferred to the crime branch, the present accused viz. Bholu (Fictitious name given by SC to hide the identity) was arrested under the suspicion of murder. Since then Bholu has been in captivity from 7th November 2017.
Bholu had approached the High Court against the orders of the Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board, Gurugram, and Appellate Court/ Additional Sessions Judge, Grurugram, dismissing his applications for bail.
The High Court was of the opinion that” The Board and the Appellate Court have passed a detailed order declining the concession of bail to the petitioner in view of the proviso to Section 12(1) of the Act and this court found no reason to form a different opinion.”
However, the bail plea was opposed by the CBI and stated that there is every possibility that the accused may try to influence the prosecution witness that includes the minor sister of the deceased and other students.
“The petitioner belongs to a very influential family and the manner in which the state police has conducted the investigation, prior to its transfer to CBI, demonstrates that the family of the petitioner tried to transpose Ashok Kumar, conductor of the bus as an accused in place of the petitioner,” the Complainant submitted.
Coinciding with the submission the single bench observed,
“The Prosecution has cited certain witnesses, who are minors including the sister of the deceased and therefore, the possibility of tampering the evidence, cannot be ruled out, at this stage in view of the totality of circumstances and the affidavit filed by the CBI.”
A further argument was raised by the Petitioner’s counsel stating the accused was not kept in a convivial manner at the children’s home and was facing medical problems. The court said that such averment was not proved so far.
“The arguments raised by the learned senior counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner is not kept in a congenial atmosphere at children’s Home and is facing a medical problem, are not proved from the two reports of the Medical Report stating that the petitioner is not facing any serious problem/illness and rather it is noticed that the petitioner is gaining weight,” the bench remarked.
Lastly, the court stated that the delay on account of the pendency of bail/revision/SLP before the Higher Courts, where status quo has been ordered on 19th November 2018 cannot be a ground to grant allowance of bail to the petitioner.