The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a juvenile gang rape accused after holding that the boy “has positively responded to the rehabilitative efforts and deserves to be reunited and restored with his family”.
“The applicant has positively responded to the rehabilitative efforts, during his stay in the Observation Home, which is in tune with the Act of 2015. He deserves to be reunited and restored with his family and it would be in his best interest so that he can develop himself with full potential,” Justice Bharati Dangre noted in his order granting bail to the accused.
While granting the accused bail to the accused against a personal bond of Rs.25,000 with one or two sureties in the like amount, the Judge said: “The applicant is now an adult and his education, which is stalled, cannot be further discontinued. The uncle of the applicant had filed an affidavit stating that he shall take care of the child and the apprehension expressed by the learned Special Judge while rejecting the application for bail, being not supported by any material, cannot be considered”.
“With the principle of ‘presumption of innocence’ incorporated in Section 3 of the Act, he is presumed to be innocent till he is convicted,” the Judge observed.
“Furthermore, by invoking principle of repatriation and restoration to the same socio-economic and cultural status that he was in, before commission of alleged crime, with no specific reason being traced out as to why he shall not be denied to repatriation and restoration, he deserves his release on bail under Section 12 of the Act” the Judge ruled.
“The accusations faced by the applicant are undisputedly serious, but he must also derive the benefit of being a ‘child’, despite he being tried as an adult and the benefit of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 cannot be denied to him,” the Judge observed.
With these remarks, the Court granted bail to the accused boy, who was accused in the gang-rape of a minor girl in 2020. The applicant was booked under provisions for alleged gang-rape, criminal assault, stalking, criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code as well as provisions of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
A charge-sheet came to be filed against the applicant – who was booked along with 5 adults, before the Juvenile Justice Board in 2021.
The Board rejected his bail application twice and after a preliminary assessment came to a conclusion that the trial against him can be transferred before the Children’s Court.
Once the proceedings were transferred, the applicant filed for bail under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.The Special Court also rejected his bail application by noting that if released on bail, he may contact the victim and may harm her. Aggrieved by the order, the applicant moved the Bombay High Court seeking bail.
“The factual matrix of the case would reveal that his application came to be rejected on three occasions, every time on unsustainable grounds. The report which is placed before me, which has analysed his physical and psychological parameters, does not reflect him as a desperado or a person misfit in the society,” the HC Judge observed in her order.