New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana high court Tuesday denied bail to the accused in the 2017 Gurugram school murder case.
Hearing the case through a video conference, Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan refused to accept the Class 11 student’s plea to treat him as a juvenile and not as an adult.
The CBI probing the murder of an eight-year-old boy on the school premises in September 2017 has charged the Class 11 student with the killing.
In December 2017, a Juvenile Justice Board had declared the delinquent to be mentally and physiologically fit to be tried as an adult. His father, however, filed an appeal against this decision and the Supreme Court is set to decide whether he has to be tried as an adult with full responsibility of the murder, or as a juvenile who can be kept in an observation home for a maximum period of three years.
The accused has already spent two years and a half in an observation home since his arrest in the case.
Juvenile board had denied bail in 2018
The Juvenile Justice Board, Gurugram, had denied bail to him in October 2018. This order was upheld by the additional sessions judge in November 2018 and has now been challenged in the high court.
But while the case remains pending in the Supreme Court, it had asked the high court in February 2019 to treat his bail plea as an adult in the meantime.
The high court took note of this order, and ruled, “Though it is 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 court further asserted that the submissions by the lawyers of the accused that he was not being kept in a “congenial atmosphere” at the children’s home and is facing medical issues was not proven. It took note of the reports submitted by the medical board stating that he doesn’t have any serious problems or illness and has in fact been gaining weight.
Justice Sangwan also gave weightage to the CBI’s submission that several witnesses in the case were minors, and hence, the possibility of evidence being tampered with cannot be ruled out.